Critic Consensus: Chi-Raq is as urgently topical and satisfyingly ambitious as it is wildly uneven -- and it contains some of Spike Lee's smartest, sharpest, and all-around entertaining late-period work.
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as Miss Helen
as Fr. Mike Corrigan
as Mayor McCloud
as Commissioner Blades
as Ole Duke
as Major King Kong
as Big Mike
as Mr. Doctor Aesop
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Critic Reviews for Chi-Raq
It's a mess. But it makes an impression. Chi-Raq has the force of topical-art inevitability. If it didn't exist, you feel, someone would have had to invent it.
Spike Lee's latest is an extraordinary confection: a satire written in verse, set to rap, gospel and hip-hop music, based on an Ancient Greek play moved to Chi-Raq, a nickname for present-day Chicago.
In its lesser moments, though, the film plays like a bad student revue.
Lee returns to engaging, enraged form with Chi-Raq, combining social commentary, anger, humour, dramatics and over-the-top style in a sometimes messy mix that uses every trick necessary to put a spotlight on America's poisonous love affair with guns.
Audience Reviews for Chi-Raq
An admirable failure. Essentially the problem is that the film clumsily moves between very broad (and mostly unfunny) comedy and really earnest emotional pleas for change without any consistency. It's hard to fault Lee too much for trying something so bold, but this movie simply doesn't work.
I guarantee you won't see a movie as unique as this this year. Probably Spike Lee's finest to date. With a very powerful message against US gun crime. With a definite and unique flavour, where everyone raps as they speak, this is very entertaining.
Am I the only one alive who finds preaching offensive? Is there a secret school somewhere training these jokers, telling them that's its alright? As it is I find that I have to discover ways to politely extricate myself from those pathetically sad presences who rise every day with the idea of lacquering me with their sad thinking. I so disregard them that were they to approach with a sound idea I would not listen. And so the flaw in Spike's new joint: its preaching. Preachy. One stops listening nearly immediately.
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