Review: Red Hook Summer

On August 10th, Red Hook Summer premiered; this is Spike’s latest film since 2008’s Miracle at St. Anna. Jules Brown and Clarke Peters star in the film. Red Hook Summer is about a young middle-class Atlanta native, who spends his summer with his religious grandfather in Brooklyn’s Red Hook housing project. In this film both grandson and grandfather seemingly learn from each other.

Bad acting can make a great film average or poor. This was the case for Red Hook Summer. Clarke Peters, who plays Bishop Enoch Rouse, was a wonderful actor. The weak points were the child actors. Jules Brown, who played Flik Royale, came across as dry in some scenes. Toni Lysaith, who played Chazz Morningstar, was a project girl whose finger snaps and body language were over-exaggerated. These flaws could be overlooked, but these children are the important to the film.

Red Hook Summer is a film with a load of potential. Characters like Deacon Zee and Sister Sharon Morningstar are deep and thought-provoking. Deacon Zee, played Thomas Jefferson Byrd, is an alcoholic who reads the Wall Street Journal and complains about blacks not buying stock options. Sister Sharon Morningstar, played by Heather Simms, is the mother of Chazz. She has a lovely scene with Bishop Enoch, in which she says that the previous generation was never truly better than the current generation. These two performances strengthened the film.

Red Hook Summer addresses many issues: gang activity, religion, and poverty. Gang activity is shown through the character Box, played by Nate Parker. Box is a Blood gang member; in one scene he explains how a lack of love turned him toward the streets. Both religion and poverty are seen through a scene between Chazz and Flik. Flik speaks about his disdain for religion, while Chazz talks about how the poverty of Red Hook has her wanting to escape.

Red Hook Summer is a movie worth supporting. Spike has directed another movie that looks in the poverty of the projects and its effect on its residents. His characters range from those who fall into gang life and those who use God and religion to deal with being poor. Red Hook Summer is in theaters for a limited time. Check out to find out if it’s playing in a theater near you.


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