RED HOOK SUMMER
There’s Beauty in This Broken World
Release Date: August 10, 2012
Runtime: 121 minutes
Distributor: Variance Films
Director: Spike Lee
Executive Producer: None
Writer: Spike Lee
Address Comments To:Dylan Marchetti, President/Founder, Variance Films
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The story is about a quiet young teenager named Flik Royale. Flik travels from Atlanta to Brooklyn to spend the summer with his grandfather in the projects of Red Hook. His grandfather, Bishop Enoch Rouse, is pastor of a local small church in the projects called “Little Heaven.” Flik isn’t particularly enthusiastic about his grandfather planning to make him work at the church the whole summer. Along the way, however, he meets Chazz, a pretty girl who attends Little Heaven. Being the same age as Flik, she goes about to show him around Brooklyn, causing trouble along the way.
Bishop Enoch, being worried for Flik’s salvation, is always preaching at him. At one point, he even embarrasses him at church by trying to get him to respond to an altar call. Bishop Enoch can’t seem to gain his grandson’s respect or love.
After a fight, Flik reveals his father died fighting in Afghanistan. This is news to Enoch. It takes him aback, and he begins to feel his grandson’s pain for the first time.
In a conversation with Chazz’s mother, Sharon, Bishop Enoch reveals his problem with Flik. Sharon tells him that, more than anything, Flik, needs a man in his life, someone who doesn’t preach at him, but teaches him and loves him. Enoch realizes how heartless he’s been and sets out to win his grandson’s love.
Eventually, a terrible secret about his grandfather startles Flik, but his grandfather admits his mistake and takes the consequences. Though the summer didn’t turn out quite like he wanted, Flik learns to see beauty in a broken world.
Writer and Director Spike Lee reportedly funded RED HOOK SUMMER from his own pocket. The quality is that of a low budget independent movie, so it lacks visual depth. Some of the acting was phenomenal, especially the grandfather’s character. However, the rest of the characters fell flat in the poor writing.
Surprising, especially for a Spike Lee movie, RED HOOK SUMMER is full of Christian content. Most of the story involves Bishop Enoch either preaching to his congregation or to his grandson, constantly reminding them that they need Jesus. [SPOILER ALERT] The reveal at the end that Bishop Enoch was a child molester is quite disturbing, and there’s a flashback of one of the instances where it happened. Even though nothing is shown, the implication of the scene is disturbing enough. However, Bishop Enoch is a changed man. Though he never fully paid price for his past actions, he does have a heart to help people and accepts the consequences when the truth about him is revealed. Also, the young protagonist learns to focus on the beauty in the world rather than just the ugliness. In the end, the church is seen as having hateful, forgiving, kind, and ignorant people.
Regrettably, there’s also some strong foul language in RED HOOK SUMMER, plus uses of the “n” word. In addition, there’s a scene of drunkenness and references to gangs dealing drugs. Finally, there are scenes of youthful rebellion. All the negative, edgy content diminishes the movie’s strong Christian content and worldview. Overall, therefore, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution for RED HOOK SUMMER.
The low budget for RED HOOK SUMMER detracts from its visual depth. Some of the acting is phenomenal, but the rest falls flat, party because of poor writing, Surprisingly, RED HOOK SUMMER contains strong Christian content. It’s full of preaching, praying, and people praising Jesus. However, though the church is seen positively, not all of the Christians are upstanding or moral. There’s also some strong foul language, brief violence, and a disturbing reference to child molestation. MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution for RED HOOK SUMMER.