He Got Game Review

He Got Game
Washington is Jake Shuttlesworth, banged up for the murder of his wife and offered seven days of freedom and a possible pardon is he can persuade his estranged son Jesus (Allan), the number one High School hoop shooter in the country, to sign up with the right college.

by Bob McCabe |
Published on
Release Date:

04 Sep 1998

Running Time:

134 minutes



Original Title:

He Got Game

When it comes to Spike Lee there are certain things that tend to be overlooked. Firstly, because he has spent the majority of his career chronicling the black experience in America, it's often easy to forget that his films have always been about America as a whole, not just one race. Secondly, because his subject matter is so driven by socio-political issues, he is often perceived as a realist. The truth is, Spike Lee is one of the most visually and stylistically audacious filmmakers working today. All this comes together in his latest movie.

Basketball is where it's at, the universality of the game brilliantly conveyed in the film's opening moments. Music-wise Spike pulls off his real coup - the score is a collection of American classicist Aaron Copland's compositions, the songs are by Public Enemy. It's a brilliant juxtaposition that informs every second of this, Lee's strongest movie in years.

Of course, it's the game that Lee loves and of course, he touches on the corruption that permeates it on every level, but what really concerns the filmmaker here is the relationships between fathers and sons, what divides them and what, ultimately unites them, and he's brought it all together with tremendous style.

After a couple of seriously worrying missteps, Lee is back at the top of his game, positioning himself as one of the best American filmmakers of his day. And for anyone who still thinks he's a social realist, check out the breathtaking ending.
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