CHI-RAQ

Director: Spike Lee (2016) BBFC cert: 15

Anger is the defining emotion of Spike Lee’s films and there’s no denying the blistering power of his latest brash, sexy, and rap-filled essay on the state of the US.

Having produced, directed and co-written this satirical musical, he has updated a classical Greek comedy with an irresistible raucous energy.

As Lysistrata, Teyonah Parris is dynamite in an afro and high heels. Motivated by the shooting of a bystander, she persuades the women on both sides of the Chicago gang divide to withhold sex from their boyfriends as a means of preventing further violence.

Her charismatic criminal boyfriend Chi-Raq is one of the unhappy men. He shares his name with the gang-ridden south side of Chicago, an area more deadly to locals than Iraq to US soldiers.

Samuel L. Jackson has a ball a as zoot suited Greek chorus rapping straight to camera. Jennifer Hudson, Angela Bassett, Wesley Snipes and John Cusack form the backbone of a strong support cast.

@ChrisHunneysett

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