Sunday, 19 July 2009

Film Review: SUMMER OF SAM (1999)

Director: Spike Lee
Running time: 137 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 19th July 2009.


This tense drama is set in New York in the summer of 1977. Disco is at the top of its game, punk is just starting to get a grip and the .44 Killer is on the loose. The story centres around a group of Italian Americans living in the Bronx and how the events surrounding the reign serial killer David Berkowitz (a.k.a. the .44 Killer) in the summer of 1977.

There is a lot of swearing, a lot of sexual references, and acts for that matter, a lot of violence and an awful lot of dialogue. It’s quite unusual to see these events from the point of view of ordinary people whose lives are affected by them. The main characters are Vinny and his wife Dionna, a young couple and Vinny’s best friend Richie, who’s into punk and, for some strange reason, The Who. Vinny is cheating on Dionna and Richie has a secret about how he makes the money he needs to live. Everyone seems to be doing drugs, which are sold to them by Joey T. There’s a local crime boss who agrees to help the police find the killer. There’s a lot going on.

An interesting film, if a bit long. I found it hard to care about any of the characters apart from Richie; the fact that he wore a Union Jack T-shirt may have helped. Very good performances from John Leguizamo as Vinny, Adrien Brody as Richie and Mira Sorvino as Dionna. Honourable mentions go to Jennifer Esposito as Ruby, Richie’s girlfriend, and Michael Rispoli as Joey T. Over all, interesting, but too long.

My score: 6.5/10

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