Chi-Raq

Father Mike Corridan’s (John Cusack) firebreathing homily sets the tone and thesis statement for Chi-Raq. Rattling off statistics about gun culture and poverty with the passion of the Holy Spirit, he sounds much more like a fiery Pentecostal minister than a stereotypically low-key Catholic priest. There is no universally accepted response to gun violence, but Spike Lee is absolutely damn sure that doing nothing is just about the worst idea possible. So he has created this modern-day update of Lysistrata, complete with both women refusing to give up their sex until the violence ends AND the poetic dialogue. Some of the actors flounder a bit with the unnatural cadences of verse, while pros like Angela Bassett, Sam Jackson, and even Wesley Snipes kill it. Chi-Raq recognizes the humanity of everyone in this narrative, a fact that is too often astoundingly ignored.

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