FILM: The Most Powerful Scene of Spike Lee's 'Red Hook Summer'
Red Hook Summer is a 2012 American film co-written and directed by Spike Lee. It is Lee's sixth film in his "Chronicles of Brooklyn" series following She's Gotta Have It, Do the Right Thing, Crooklyn, Clockers and He Got Game. It follows Flik Royale, a 13-year old boy from Atlanta who is sent to live with his preacher grandfather, Da Good Bishop Enoch Rouse (played by Clarke Peters), in Red Hook, Brooklyn.
In this scene in particular, 'Bishop Enoch,' kneeling and praying before the alter in his church, is interrupted by 'Box' (played by Nate Parker) and his crew of two. 'Box' launches into a powerful monologue laced with what could be described as hate and bitterness directed at 'Enoch.'
...Only men we ever saw trying to do good out there was you and Deacon Zee. Deacon Zee's a drunk. And you...I see now why my mother never trusted you. (**) I used to play the shit out of this thing. My mother taught me. (*crack*) Pick him up! Turn him around!
(**) --- Music cue.
After 'Box' and his boys are done with 'Enoch' they leave him at the alter.
When 'Enoch' finally exits the church and begins his bloody trek through Red Hook, accompanied by the Edwin Hawkins Singers' 'Jesus, Lover of my Soul,' I am met with so many feelings. Disgust, sympathy, anger, to name a few. The placing of the music, and this song in particular, is perfect in my opinion.
On his trek, we meet two individuals with two very different sets of feelings regarding 'Enoch.' One, a wheelchair-bound woman, is sympathetic. She suggests that "God's gon' sort this out" and that she is praying for him. She even suggests that he go to the hospital and get checked out. And on the other hand, 'Deacon Yancy's' (played by Stephen Henderson) indictment of 'Enoch' to his face, as he walks, is the complete opposite (or is it?) of the woman. And it is SO powerful.
I see you for who you are now. Satan. The Devil, himself. Lucifer. Beelzebub. You took that boys faith. You took his faith, and you turned him into a monster...and you'll burn for that. You gonna burn in eternal Hell!
I love that juxtaposition.
And the choice of song is great!
The late Roger Ebert, a renowned film critic, had this to say about 'Red Hook Summer':
...it plays as if the director is making it up as he goes along. That's not entirely a bad thing, although some will be thrown off-balance by an abrupt plot development halfway through that appears entirely out of the blue and is so shocking that the movie never really recovers. Here is Lee at his most spontaneous and sincere, but he could have used another screenplay draft."
Check the film out for yourself, if you dig! There are some great moments in it. Notably this one, and one featuring acting master Colman Domingo.