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Based on Richard Price's grim best-seller, and directed by Spike Lee from a screenplay co-written with Price, Clockers takes the structure of a police procedural to build a chilling portrait of despair, hope, and the unanswered problem of black-on-black crime in an urban housing project. The film's haunting themes are vividly visualized during the opening credits, which run over police photos of dead young black men, shot and sprawled on sidewalks, in streets, and hanging over fences. Strike (Mekhi Phifer) is a 19-year-old African-American "clocker" -- the lowest link on the… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 67%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"There is a force and focus in Lee's work, an absence of intellectual posturing and a willingness to let his material speak for itself that he has not achieved before."
‑ Richard Schickel, TIME Magazine
"The result is a more sober, mournful and meditative expressionism than you'd expect. That's not to say the film isn't suspenseful, but the director's distaste for the inner city's gun culture is clear to see. Superbly acted."
‑ , Time Out
"Clockers leaves you with a sense of aching sadness, a regretful melancholy for the lives that have been blasted and the wrong decisions that have been made. Once again, Spike Lee has done the right thing."
‑ Joe Leydon, The Moving Picture Show
"Average Lee, but still enjoyable overall."
‑ Angie Errigo, Empire Magazine
"Clockers is messy and didactic, but it's complex in a way that a tidy film can't be."
‑ Rob Gonsalves,
"The performances are strong, but the spectator often feels adrift in an overly busy intrigue."
‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"Helping make these points is as strong a cast as Lee has yet worked with."
‑ Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
"Spike Lee brings way too much baggage for the movie to work."
‑ Matthew Pejkovic, Matt's Movie Reviews
"Arguably Lee's best film since Do The Right Thing."
‑ , Film4
"A fascinating and engrossing character study."
‑ Michael Dequina,
"A study of the urban dope-dealing culture and its toll on everyone who comes in contact with it, the picture has an insider's feel that is constantly undercut by the filmmaker's impulse to editorialize."
‑ Todd McCarthy, Variety
"Has the strengths of Spike Lee's best work without the preachiness and gimmicky camera moves of his weakest."
‑ Edward Guthmann, San Francisco Chronicle
"Lee's film never recaptures the impact of the opening credit sequence, a grimly deglamorized tableaux of real-life crime scenes."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Spike Lee gets a good perfromance from newcomer Phifer as the young crack dealer, but the movie is diffuse, paying too much attention to the urban environment and not enough to the personas and dilemmas of the central characters."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"Sub-par Spike Lee"
‑ Steve Crum, Kansas City Kansan
More reviews for Clockers on Rotten Tomatoes