Directed by: Spike Lee
Starring: John Leguizamo, Adrien Brody, Mira Sorvino
I went into this movie thinking it would be about the Son of Sam, aka David Berkowitz, a serial killer from New York City in the 70’s. Turns out it’s actually about these other people in NYC while the killings are going on, and eventually it gets around to dealing with how it affects their lives. It’s an interesting idea, but the day-to-day experiences of John Leguizamo and friends are really not that interesting.
Adrien Brody moves back into town after being in London and discovering the burgeoning punk rock movement, which doesn’t sit well with his disco-loving latino childhood friends. As panic sweeps the town, they start thinking that he might actually be the Son of Sam because he’s kinda weird, and they beat the shit out of him. And it takes two and a half hours to do this.
I get what they were trying to do with showing the panic of the city, but it doesn’t really work for two reasons. First, it takes so long to even start approaching that aspect of the story that you don’t even care at all when it gets there. Second, they actually show the real Son of Sam a lot, we keep cutting back to him and showing the killings and there’s even a little cameo by John Turturro as the voice of the dog that tells Berkowitz to kill. Because of this, the audience never has any doubt about Brody being the Son of Sam, and as such there’s no emotional investment into the whole thing.