Though it's no disgrace, Spike Lee's 1995 reworking of Richard Price's adaptation of his own novel (a project originally developed for Martin Scorsese) comes across as neither fish nor fowl—unsatisfying as a Price script, but not entirely a Lee movie either. The story involves a Brooklyn crack dealer (Mekhi Phifer) caught between his boss (Delroy Lindo) and a police detective investigating a local murder (Harvey Keitel). The film is ambitious in exploring an ambiguous and complex situation that also involves the dealer's respectable brother (Isaiah Washington), who unpersuasively confesses to the crime, and Keitel's sidekick (John Turturro), but the sheer unpleasantness of the story isn't always justified by its insights. The performances are strong, but the spectator often feels adrift in an overly busy intrigue. With Keith David. R, 128 min.
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