Denzel Washington got an Academy Award nomination for his portrayal in Spike Lee's Malcolm X, and it appears as if these two really mix. Washington is very powerful in the Spike Lee joint He Got Game, a movie about the pressures and consequences of being a star, and the lengths people will go to for their family.
Ray Allen costars as Jesus Shuttlesworth, the son of Jake Shuttlesworth (Denzel Washington). In real life, Allen is a basketball player, but he also is a good actor, too, apparently. I mean, he was playing good basketball, but I really thought that he was a professional actor throughout most of the movie, until my brother pointed out who he was. He's very believable in his role as the young man who basically disregards his father and takes care of his sister.
Spike Lee has a very direct approach to things, and of the few movies I have seen of Lee's, I have really liked his style. There are a lot of lens flares and white outs, and other rough, "street-like" shots. Furthermore, the way the movie is telling several different time periods at the same time is very well done.
My only complaint is the use of sex in the film. There are a lot of unnecessary things in the film that do nothing for the story except for showing breasts. There is one scene where a local drug dealer or someone is telling Jesus all the things he can expect, and about ten different sex scenes are shown for some reason. Also, Washington develops a relationship with a prostitute (Milla Jovovich), and while I now do see some significance in it, there is no real reason why she was in the movie at all.
Also, there are moments when the movie is very unrealistic. Jesus goes to visit a college and all the white college girls are hitting on him. Then he goes to a party and has sex with two girls at the same time, and I'm thinking, I wish college was really like this. Again, it was there just for showing breasts.
The look of the film, the script, and pretty much everything works hand in hand, and Spike Lee delivers a powerful message. The movie runs a little long but I didn't get bored at all. He Got Game has got some good stuff.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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