Run Time: 128 min. Format: 35mm Rating: R Release Year: 1995
Starring: Harvey Keitel, John Turturro, Delroy Lindo, Mekhi Phifer, Isaiah Washington, Keith David
Adapted from the novel by Richard Price, CLOCKERS was originally meant to be directed by Spike Lee’s friend and inspiration Martin Scosese, and that can be felt in several moments throughout the film.
CLOCKERS brings us to the Gowanus Projects in Boerum Hill and Spike continues his exploration of the effects of drugs in Black neighborhoods that he began in JUNGLE FEVER. We follow a young drug pusher named Strike (played with a complicated, frustrating and child-like beauty by Mekhi Phifer in his feature film debut) as he deals with two detectives (Harvey Keitel and John Turturro, perfect and as crass as you want them to be) who are always close behind him as they try to pin him for a murder that his older brother (played by Lee regular Isaiah Washington) has confessed to. Strike also has to deal with his demanding drug lord boss/father figure, Rodney (Delory Lindo, firing on all cylinders), a young he is training to be a new “clocker”, and a terrible ulcer that he exacerbates by constantly drinking Yoo-Hoo chocolate milk.
A clear blueprint for THE WIRE, and a precursor to more exploration of life in the projects in HE GOT GAME, CLOCKERS maintains its richness from the novel and shows us an unflinching and non-judgemental portrait of a young man as he attempts to find his place in the world.