While the buzz around Spike Lee‘s “Red Hook Summer” is that it’s another chapter in his ongoing Chronicles Of Brooklyn, judging by this first trailer, it’s his most hazy, lazy days-of-summer flick since his breakout “Do The Right Thing.” Shot digitally and on a low budget, that hasn’t prevented the film from popping with color (those reds!) and capturing Brooklyn in all of its summer sun-soaked glory. As for the film, it promises to be another charged outing from Lee.
Earning strong notices when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival — as well as some controversy thanks to the narrative turns it takes — “Red Hook Summer” should certainly be a fascinating affair. The picture tells the story of Flik Royale (Jules Brown), a sullen young boy from middle-class Atlanta who has come to spend the summer with his deeply religious grandfather, Bishop Enoch Rouse (Clarke Peters), in the housing projects of Red Hook. Having never met before, things quickly get off on the wrong foot as Bishop Enoch relentlessly attempts to convert Flik into a follower of Jesus Christ. Between his grandfather’s constant preaching and the culture shock of inner-city life, Flik’s summer appears to be a total disaster–until he meets Chazz Morningstar (Toni Lysaith), a pretty girl his age, who shows Flik the brighter side of Brooklyn. Through her love and the love of his grandfather, Flik begins to realize that the world is a lot bigger, and perhaps a lot better, than he’d ever imagined.
Familiar themes of Lee — family, class, religion — all bubble up here and Clarke Peters in a lead role alone is enough to get our ticket bought. Trimmed by about 14 minutes since it unspooled in Park City, we doubt that has diminished any of the power of the film that our man in Utah said was a “remarkable display of a filmmaker reconnecting with his artistic voice.” “Red Hook Summer” opens on August 10th in limited release. Watch below.