Projections - Movie Reviews

He Got Game

Director Spike Lee has the creative part of He Got Game right on track.  The drama drags along at a passive pace, limiting the quality of the work.

Using flash forward, slow motion, a unique musical soundtrack and dream sequences, Lee presents an exciting and interesting atmosphere.  The display is consistently interesting to watch.

Denzel Washington is Jake Shuttlesworth, a prisoner who suddenly finds himself temporarily paroled to persuade his estranged son Jesus (Ray Allen), the number one high school basketball player in the country, to sign with Big State, the governor's alma mater.

Jesus has raised his sister and has few real friends as he moves toward the critical decision of whether to attend college and which one, or to go directly into the NBA.  His uncle, girl friend, coach, the local underworld leader and eventually his father, all attempt to cash in on his potential.  Too many negative people diminish the strength of Jesus, who has his goals and life very together for a high school student, who has no mother and a father in jail.  The quick talkers, movers and shakers are all portrayed in one dimension.  Greed is the only motivation.  No one, with the exception of Coleman "Booger" Sykes (Hill Harper), Jesus' short, best friend, cares about the budding basketball star.

The characteristics and texture of the film are unique and interesting.  The music, which is combination of classic works conducted by Aaron Copland and Leonard Bernstein, balanced with performances by Public Enemy and The Aleems, is stunning.  A crisper, more balanced story would have made He Got Game a compelling, powerful film.

He Got Game


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