A fun, jazzy and delirious.
I am shocked this film has such a low IMDb score! I watched both this
and Crooklyn the past few days, and this is the better film.
It has all the flaws of Lee's films - tonally all over the place and a
But that's why I love Lee. He is always interesting. I love Inside Man,
a more conventional film for Lee, but Mo' Better Blues is far more
personal. This is quite clearly a work of love for the director. The
cinematography is stunning. The fast dolly shots are similar to that of
Scorsese and Hitchcock. The colour is wonderful too, full of rich blues
and reds on the New York skyline.
The story is pretty good too, though you will have seen it all before.
The tale of a jazz musician and his band, through their highs and lows:
in terms of live and music. The acting is all round great, headed by
Denzel Washington as Bleek, the artist who loves the music more than
his friends. Wesley Snipes is Shadow Henderson. This is back when
Snipes didn't have to phone in a performance in a silly action film.
Lee himself, and Joie Lee also give fine support.
Let's not forget the music, which is what the film revolves around
anyway. If you don't like jazz, I guess this film isn't for you. I
myself liked it, it had me tapping my feet all the through.
The film is a little long and can sometimes lose its way, but this is a
very enjoyable film, a solid effort from Spike Lee..
Very Good, But Not On Par With Other Spike Work
In Spike Lee's fourth film, Denzel Washington proves early in his
career that he is capable of being funny and romantic in a more modest
film than Glory or Cry Freedom, the music is breezy and romantic and
consistent, jazzy and colorful cinematography, and another
characteristic Spike Lee touch, which is his gift for drawing from his
actors stunningly realistic performances. In some ensemble scenes, the
dialogue seems like improvisation. Maybe it is.
Mo' Better Blues is a good, steady, effective drama, a portrait of a
complex and overwrought musician and the indecision and jealousy that
gradually eat away at his life, but it lacks the passion and brazen
provocative nature of nearly all of Spike Lee's other films.
The cast, once again, is brilliant. Denzel is very very very authentic,
faithful, graphic, and lifelike. My brother is a jazz musician and I've
met several of his fellow musicians. I'm seasoned when it comes to jazz
musicians. Take my word for it, Denzel's performance is entirely true.
Snipes is brilliantly, swaggeringly audacious. Joie Lee comprehensively
draws our sympathy towards her sensitive, self-conscious character and
away from the elegant and subtly compelling Cynda Williams. Spike Lee
himself is one of the most compelling characters. Samuel L. Jackson
entertains in one of his millions and billions of early bit roles.
If I were to say, "I'm in the mood for a Spike Lee joint," this would
not be one of the first films I pick, but it's different and
enthralling. I mean, it's directed by Spike Lee, so how can it not be?.