Film Essay Spike Lee’s ‘Do the Right Thing’ stages a series of confrontations designed less to arrive at a resolution in the traditional sense than to uncover some of the limitations of oppositional or binary thinking. This essay considers these various aspects of the film in an effort to reveal these theoretical and filmic elements…
The confrontation eventually devolves into the three of them arguing over who should sweep the area. This is indicative of the larger thematic elements of the film, as rather than reaching a solid conclusion the confrontation just falls into this unresolved absurd state. The next notable conflict occurs at 14:20 in the film. This conflict is between an elderly African American gentleman and the Korean convenience store owners over alcohol products. The conflict never reaches a clear resolution as the man angrily submits, and there are underlining racial tensions in the argument. In having no clear resolution, the scene greatly contributes to this thematic tendency of resisting binary thinking. This conflict, in a non-racial sense, occurs outside the store, when a woman confronts the man for drinking the alcohol and he chastises her for not being civil. Like a stream of consciousness flow the film then cuts to Rosie Perez inside her apartment arguing with her mother over undisclosed, yet unresolved elements. At 20:00 a customer confronts Sal about not having African American pictures on his wall. This conflict has the most racial undertones yet in the film, and results with the man being thrown out of the restaurant. Even as the reason behind the conflict appears racial, the film demonstrates that there is no easy solution to the conflict. ...
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