HollywoodChicago.com RSS   Facebook   HollywoodChicago.com on Twitter   Free Giveaway E-mail   

Film Review: Inventive ‘Chi-raq’ is an Authentic Plea for Sanity

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionE-mail page to friendE-mail page to friendPDF versionPDF version
Average: 5 (1 vote)

CHICAGO – A spotlight on Chicago, in the context of guns and violence, is never a good thing for the overall community. But using Chicago as a metaphor for all violent insanity, and making a plea for peace, is the purpose of director Spike Lee’s new film, “Chi-raq.”

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.5/5.0
Rating: 4.5/5.0

It’s based on the Lysistrata effect, the ancient Greek play in which women withhold sex until their men stop war. Spike Lee takes that symbolism to the edge and through his unique cinema worldview. The film amps it up, becoming an original mash-up of Spike’s greatest hits – “She’s Gotta Have It,” “School Daze,” “Do the Right Thing” and “Malcolm X” – all bursting at the seams with energy, creativity, audacity and at times pointed satire. This is Spike Lee’s best film in years, all because he went back to being Spike Lee, provocateur.

Chi-Raq the character (Nick Cannon) is a rapper, and as the film opens he is entertaining an audience with his beats. Gunfire erupts, as Chi-raq is also revealed to be the head of a Chicago gang (Purple Colors), who are warring with their rivals, headed by Cyclops (Wesley Snipes, Orange Colors). As tensions and gunfire escalate, a nine-year-old girl is caught in the crossfire, devastating her mother Irene (Jennifer Hudson).

The Englewood neighborhood community is enraged by the constant barrage, as emphasized at the girl’s funeral by Father Mike (John Cusack). The girlfriend of Chi-raq, Lysistrata (Teyonah Parris), decides to fight the fire with a sex strike, and her efforts finally gets the attention of the warriors. She takes over a national guard armory to further her plea, getting the city government and the world involved, as she her simple slogan reads, “no peace? [then] no piece.”

“Chi-raq” has a limited release on December 4th. See local listings for theaters and show times. Featuring Samuel L. Jackson, John Cusack, Teyonah Parris, Nick Cannon, Wesley Snipes, Angela Bassett, Jennifer Hudson, D.B. Sweeney and Dave Chapelle. Written by Spike Lee and Kevin WIllmott. Directed by Spike Lee. Rated “R”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Chi-raq”

Teyonah Parris
Lysistrata (Teyonah Parris) in ‘Chi-raq’
Photo credit: Lionsgate

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Chi-raq”

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent spam submissions.
92 - 92 =
Solve this math question and enter the solution with digits. E.g. for "two plus four = ?" enter "6".

User Login

Free Giveaway Mailing


  • Not One Batu

    CHICAGO – The State of Hawaii may be one of the most misunderstood in America. Because of its reputation as a tourist mecca, the fact that native peoples live and work there like any other place is hard to imagine. Also unimaginable is the drug use of island residents, but playwright and Hawaiian native Hannah li-Epstein wrote about it in her stage play “Not One Batu,” now in its Premiere Chicago run at the Berger Park Coach House through July 28th, 2018. For more information, including tickets, click here.

  • Cher Show, The

    CHICAGO – Has anybody in show business had more “comebacks” than Cher… or if you added her many last names Cher Sarkisian La Piere Bono Allman? All of the triumphs and downturns are shoehorned into “The Cher Show,” now in Chicago in a pre-Broadway run through July 15, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.


HollywoodChicago.com on Twitter


HollywoodChicago.com Top Ten Discussions