"Fight the Powers That Be": Race and Capital in Spike Lee’s "Do the Right Thing" and "Inside Man"

  • MUBI
Spike Lee's Inside Man (2006) and Do the Right Thing (1989) are showing on Mubi in many countries around the world in January and February, 2019.Forty-five minutes into Spike Lee’s 2006 Inside Man, Clive Owen’s mysterious bank robber Dalton Russell negotiates with Denzel Washington’s detective Keith Frazier a food delivery for the 50 or so people he’s holding hostage inside the fictional Wall Street-headquartered Manhattan Trust Bank. The food smuggled through the horde of cops surrounding the building is pizza, and the boxes the slices come in read: Sal’s Famous Pizzeria. I wish I could say I spotted the intertextual connection right away, but it took Lee’s DVD commentary to illuminate the link between his 2006 star-studded thriller and the family-owned Bedford-Stuyvesant restaurant that staged his 1989 Do the Right Thing. “Sal’s pizzeria,” Lee comments, somewhat sarcastically, “burned down in Brooklyn, and moved to Wall Street.”Revisiting the
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