Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Spike Lee|
|Produced by||Martin Scorsese
|Screenplay by||Richard Price
by Richard Price
Pee Wee Love
|Music by||Terence Blanchard|
|Cinematography||Malik Hassan Sayeed|
|Editing by||Sam Pollard|
|Studio||40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Release date(s)||September 13, 1995|
|Running time||128 minutes|
Clockers is a 1995 American crime drama film directed by Spike Lee. It is an adaptation of the eponymous 1992 novel by Richard Price, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Lee. The film stars Harvey Keitel, John Turturro, Delroy Lindo, and Mekhi Phifer in his debut film role. Set in New York City, Clockers tells the story of Strike (Phifer), a street-level drug dealer, who becomes entangled in a murder investigation.
In a Brooklyn housing project, a group of "clockers" - street-level drug dealers - sell drugs for Rodney Little (Delroy Lindo), a local drug lord. Rodney tells Ronald "Strike" Dunham (Mekhi Phifer), one of his lead clockers, that another dealer, Darryl Adams (Steve White), is stealing from him and "got to be got", implying that he wants Strike to kill Darryl. Strike then meets with his brother, Victor Dunham (Isaiah Washington) and tries to persuade Victor to kill Darryl Adams.
Rocco Klein (Harvey Keitel) and Larry Mazilli (John Turturro), homicide detectives, ride to the scene of Darryl Adams' murder. Larry and Rocco receive a phone call from another detective who says a man has confessed at a local church that he killed Darryl. The police meet Strike's older brother Victor at the church and take him in for questioning. In the interrogation room, Victor tells Rocco that he shot Darryl Adams in self-defense. Rocco finds holes in this story and starts looking into Victor's background which includes two jobs, a wife, two children, no criminal record, and aspirations to move out of the projects; Rocco comes to the conclusion that Victor is covering for his younger brother.
Rocco pressures Strike but Victor sticks to his story, so Rocco convinces Rodney that Strike has confessed and informed on Rodney's drug ring. Rocco arrests Rodney and then humiliates Strike in front of his crew. Strike gets together some money and decides to leave town, but a younger boy who admired Strike shoots Errol, Rodney's enforcer, with Strike's gun. Rocco lets Strike leave town.
- Harvey Keitel — Det. Rocco Klein
- John Turturro — Det. Larry Mazilli
- Delroy Lindo — Rodney Little
- Mekhi Phifer — Ronald 'Strike' Dunham
- Isaiah Washington — Victor Dunham
- Keith David — André the Giant
- Pee Wee Love — Tyrone 'Shorty' Jeeter
- Sticky Fingaz — Scientific
- Regina Taylor — Iris Jeeter
- Fredro — Go
- Elvis Nolasco — Horace
- Tom Byrd — Errol Barnes
- Lawrence B. Adisa — Stan
- Hassan Johnson — Skills
- Frances Foster — Gloria
- Michael Imperioli — Detective Jo-Jo
- Mike Starr — Thumper
- Lisa Arrindell Anderson — Sharon Dunham
- Paul Calderon — Jesus
- Brendan Kelly — Big Chief
- Graham Brown — Herman Brown
- Steve White — Darryl Adams
- Spike Lee — Chucky
- Harry Lennix — Bill Walker
- Michael Badalucco — Cop #1
- Ricky Aiello — Cop #2
Conception and adaptation
David Denby of New York magazine said that while the original novel was "filled with operational detail" the film adaptation was "more emotional" and "less factual". Denby further explained that Spike Lee, the film director, was "concerned less with Strike's spiritual condition than with the survival of the entire community."
Denby said that Lee, in the work, "jumps around a lot, telling his story in hot flashes" as typical in Spike Lee films, arguing that the technique makes the film "difficult to follow". In regards to the cinematography of Malik Sayeed, Denby said that it was "rough and dark-hued, with an almost tabloid angriness in the scenes of violence."
Critics and film buffs were quick to notice that the poster, designed by Art Sims, was similar to Saul Bass' art for Otto Preminger's 1959 film Anatomy of a Murder. Sims claimed that it was a homage, but Bass regarded it as a rip-off.
The movie had a poor opening at the box office.
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- Denby, David. "Hard Time." ("Movies" section) New York (magazine). September 18, 1995. New York Media, LLC. Vol. 28, No. 37. ISSN 0028-7369. p. 72-73.
- Denby, p. 73.
- Schaefer, Stephen (1995-09-08). "Poster Imposter | News". EW.com. Retrieved 2010-08-19.
- "Clockers". Chicago Sun-Times.
- "Clockers (1995)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
- Dutka, Elaine (1995-09-19). "Weekend Box Office : 3 New Films Open Quietly - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. Retrieved 2012-07-23.