Spike Lee's take on the "Son of Sam" murders in New York City during the summer of 1977 centering on the residents of an Italian-American Northeast Bronx neighborhood who live in fear and distrust of one another.
This Spike Lee film examines the life of an aspiring actress in New York. She is upset by the treatment of women in the movie industry during one of her screen tests with 'QT'. Out of work and desperate for money, she decides to take a job as a phone-sex operator. Here, unlike her previous dealings with potential employers, her (female) boss is kind, caring, and sensitive. Later, she begins to get too engrossed in her work and starts to lose touch with reality, represented by her friend and neighbor, Jimmy.Written by
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
Produced, Arranged, Composed and Performed by Prince
Used by permission of Controversy Music/WB Music Corp. (ASCAP)
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records/Paisley Park
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No plot but still an engaging miss-mash thanks to Lee's direction and Randle's performance
After a confrontation with a director who forces her to take her top off in an audition, the title character of the film storms out and is subsequently dropped by both her agent and her acting teacher. Unable to get `proper' acting work, she moves into the world of phone sex. Getting a job with an office-call firm, Girl 6 is one of many girls, acting out whatever fantasy her callers want. However, the more confident she gets the more she starts to lose touch with herself.
When I write a review of a film I have just seen, it helps me to write a little summary of the plot to help me think about what I have just seen. I sat this because I don't want you to think that my opening paragraph suggests that plot is a key part of this film - it isn't. What exists in the place of a solid narrative is a series of stylish scenes, spinning characters and good performances. I can totally understand why so many people just hated this film - god knows it does itself no favours - however fans of Spike Lee should find much to keep them watching as it is very much the director's film. Lee, however, cannot find anything to really build on in the screenplay and the plot is never very satisfying; the film's energy just about covers this until the end where Lee realises that he hasn't really gone anywhere to generate a traditional conclusion - this means that the serious stuff doesn't ring true.
However Lee is the driving force behind the film and it is his stylish direction that keeps all the fragmented scenes/sketches/skits together. He uses different film stock to good effect and the stuff he does with the camera is typical of what we have seen in his other films - except here he does it a lot more. Of course, this is style with little narrative substance and that is not a good thing but, if you are going to do style without substance, then you'd better do it as well as Lee can do it. The film leaps all over different styles including the Jeffersons, Foxy Brown and many others; in a way I suppose this is meant to be 6 losing touch with herself on the way to finding inner confidence and peace but it doesn't really work (and the `falling down a dark lift shaft' subplot/snippets are too heavy handed on top of this).
Lee's direction is the first reason for watching this film, but equally worthwhile is Randle (and not for the reason rather juvenilely suggested by many reviews here). Randle is a great actress and she shows it here - it is rather sad that she has actually done quite few films and too many of them have her in small supporting roles (Bad Boys I & II, Spawn, Space Jam, Malcolm X and so on). Here she has very little character to work with (not even a name!) but she made me forget that simply by the range of her performance. She is asked to do a lot and, despite lacking audience involvement in 6, her performance shows the range that she has - she should really be given better roles on the basis of this film, it's just a shame there aren't really that mean good roles for actresses approaching their 40's (never mind black actresses approaching their 40's!). The support cast features plenty of well-known faces - none of them actually have characters, but mostly they do OK whatever their contribution is. Washington is a good-looking guy and does OK with a character that I never understood. Lee himself does his usual role - he is amusing but contributes to the lack of narrative. The callers include people like Lee-regular Byrd, Peter Berg, Imperioli and Richard Belzer - they do what is asked of them and it isn't their fault the film doesn't work. Batson's acting coach is OTT, Campbell does nothing but look sexy, Madonna is actually OK but other like Berry and Silver merely show their face. Tarantino is suitably brash prior to his public falling out with Lee and Turturro just seems to be there for the sake of finding a part for him. Despite the many stars, it is Randle that carries the film - her character is poor but her performance is great.
Indeed this sums up the whole film. To watch it is rather infuriating as it lacks characters, meaningful narrative and plotting. If you are a fan of Spike Lee then you will enjoy the style of the film and the fact that his behind-the-camera skills are there for all to see. Aside from this the only other reason to really watch it is a great performance by Randle that will almost act like an audition tape for her - no character but plenty of range and ability! The vast majority of people will dislike this film and I understand why. There is nothing to it but Lee and Randle make it worth a watch once.
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