Do The Right Thing

The film I decided to analyze is Do The Right Thing, a Spike Lee classic. The opening title of the film visually communicates a form of retribution and fighting for what is “right.” It does so through the use of sound, lighting, and movement. First and maybe the most important element used is sound. The opening sequence begins with a slow and calming jazz tune, but quickly changes when the song “Fight the Power” by Public Enemy begins. “Fight the Power” greatly juxtaposes the calmness of the first song and instead evokes a feeling of anger and protest. The song really reflects the social and cultural problems of the time in New York City. It also gives you the idea that the film is going to be very straight-forward and “in your face.” The lyrics “we’ve got to fight the powers that be” and “fight the power” repeat and reinforce the idea of retaliation and going “against the man.” The images of a woman wearing boxing gloves and fighting also reinforces this idea. 

This same idea of anger is reinforced through the element and use of lighting in the opening sequence. The sequence switches between an overall red hue and a dark and mysterious lighting. The red really portrays the feeling of anger and rage that the film highlights. The darkness lets the audience know that there will be a lot of sadness and dark, morose topics involved in the film. Additionally, there are a lot of shadows and silhouettes of the woman dancing throughout the sequence. The silhouette emphasizes a fading into the shadows and evokes a feeling of mystery. 

The third element used is the element of movement. The sequence starts with really jerky, quick cuts with a woman dancing and posing in various poses. The fast-pace and quick cuts really emphasize the feeling of uneasiness in the film. Doing so makes it hard to fully understand what is happening. The sequence quickly moves in and out of different “scenes” through the use of transitions. The transitions focus a lot on body movements and doing so transitions seamlessly from one clip to another.