Summer of Sam
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In the summer of 1977, a serial killer who called himself Son of Sam (real name David Berkowitz) held New York City in terror as he went on a killing spree, periodically writing letters to New York's media in which he took full responsibility for the murders and made clear that he intended to kill again. Spike Lee's Summer of Sam deals in part with this crime spree, but it mostly looks back at the fearful impact of his crimes on New York's collective consciousness. Vinny and Dionna (John Leguizamo and Mira Sorvino) are an unhappy young married couple living in the Bronx; Vinny… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 50%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Like most of Lee's work, this bites off more than it can chew, but the breadth and energy are impressive."
‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"The disappointment with Summer of Sam is not that it's exploitative; it's just difficult to figure out what it's supposed to be about."
‑ Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail
"This ultimately disappoints, but it is good to see Lee branch out into subjects which don't immediately lend themselves to his single-minded politicizing."
‑ , Film4
"Whatever you think of Spike Lee, when he has the faith in his talent and material and is able to be political without the dogma, he's one of the best filmmakers to come out of America in the 1980's."
‑ Ron Wells, Film Threat
"Disappointing."
‑ Dragan Antulov, rec.arts.movies.reviews
"This is trashy exploitation at its clumsiest. Once more, a Spike Lee movie has been undone by the earnestness of being important."
‑ Andrew Sarris, New York Observer
"Lee is a powerful filmmaker who certainly knows how to have an impact on an audience, but those who survive his ministrations are likely to wonder if in this case the battle was worth the bruises."
‑ Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
"The film is sloppy and ill-formed, its tone lurching drunkenly from turgid soap opera to soft-core porn, descending at times to low camp."
‑ Jim Lane, Sacramento News & Review
"Lee does capture the terror a serial killer can wreak upon the community, but his concentration on the weak characters hurts in the long run."
‑ Robin Clifford, Reeling Reviews
"Spike Lee's most ambitious movie, is joltingly inspired at times. It's also offensively redundant and needs editing."
‑ Judith Egerton, Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY)
"Trouble is, the overlong narrative, however entertaining from minute to minute, is a mess."
‑ Geoff Andrew, Time Out
"Summer of Sam scatters most of its force by straying far from the compelling, plenty-complex business at hand."
‑ Susan Stark, Detroit News
"I needed stronger and more balanced characters to really care what happened."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"The story makes very important points, and shows us a graphic parable of the wages of sin. But the ugliness along the way will be too much for some viewers...."
‑ Jeffrey Overstreet, Looking Closer
"The cast sizzles."
‑ Susan Tavernetti, Palo Alto Weekly
More reviews for Summer of Sam on Rotten Tomatoes

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