Ty Burr
March 15, 1996 AT 05:00 AM EST

Clockers

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
128 minutes
performer
Mekhi Phifer, Richard Price, Keith David, Harvey Keitel, Delroy Lindo, John Turturro
director
Spike Lee
author
Charlayne Hunter-Gault, Spike Lee, Nigel Hamilton, Richard Price
genre
Drama, Mystery and Thriller

We gave it an A-

Clockers is Spike Lee’s most complex, reined-in, and mature work to date, but it got the shaft both commercially and in terms of Oscar bouquets — a genuine crime in the face of stunning performances by Keitel (as a cop not quite as hard-nosed as he seems) and Mekhi Phifer (as a low-level drug pusher tormented by conscience). Based on the best-seller by Richard Price (who collaborated on the script with Lee), Clockers finds Lee for once subordinating his flashy film-school moves to the demands of narrative, creating an unsettling, moving portrait of a world where everyone carries his own heroes and villains within himself. A-

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