Sucker Free City (Lee, 2004)

Modern day sagas of urban decay and failing social institutions will inevitably pale in comparison to David Simon’s penultimate series The Wire. But Spike Lee’s harrowing glance at gang life in San Francisco does an admirable job interlocking race, stereotype, and economical alliance with interesting characters worth examining, producing fresh clarity on the tragedies of the street. Sucker Free City gets its edge from combining multiple classes as well as ethnicities, showing how dependent each have become on the success and failure of the rest. Anthony Mackie’s lead performance bristles with a fascinating combination of raging intensity and plotting calm, proving yet again he’s an underused force in the movies.

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