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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Movie Reviews > Summer of Sam

MOVIE REVIEWS

SUMMER OF SAM (1999)

Starring John Leguizamo, Mira Sorvino, Adrien Brody, Jennifer Esposito, Michael Rispoli, Bebe Neuwirth, Patti LuPone, Joe Lisi, Spike Lee, Mike Starr, Anthony LaPaglia, Ben Gazzara, John Savage, Jimmy Breslin and Michael Badalucco.

Screenplay by Victor Coliccio, Michael Imperioli and Spike Lee.

Directed by Spike Lee.

Distributed by Touchstone Pictures. 142  minutes.  Rated R.

Summer Of Sam

Spike Lee’s meditation on serial killer David Berkowitz and how he terrorized New York City in the summer of ’77 is a very stylish, but somewhat revisionist history.  In fact, Son of Sam (Michael Badalucco of The Practice) has little more than a cameo in his own film (and if Berkowitz was even half as nutty as portrayed here, it’s hard to believe that it took so long to catch him.).  

Instead of following the killer, Lee focuses on a bunch of moikes from Queens who decide that Sam must be in the neighborhood.  They come to this conclusion because, frankly, they have never really left and that is their whole scope of reference.  There are fine acting jobs by Mira Sorvino as the beautiful but conflicted disco-queen wife of womanizing drug-addict hair dresser John Leguizamo and Adrien Brody as a punk-rock-wannabe gay dancer.  They and others are terrific in their parts.  

But everyone is kind of squandered in a meandering story that, like the characters, really never gets anywhere.  Lee’s cinematography and symbolism is mostly up to his high standards (though those "Dead End" signs all over are a little heavy-handed…).  Summer of Sam is enjoyable through most of its length.  It’s not until you exit the theater that you realize these lugs have no more to do with Son of Sam than you or I.  And, frankly, you can see the final scene coming from miles away. (7/99)

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©1999 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Revised: March 11, 2017.

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