This is a post in a series chronicling my thoughts on the best working writer-directors in the filmmaking business. See the whole series here.
7. Spike Lee
Even when he fails, he fails with style. Spike Lee has produced some of the best and most distinctive cinema anywhere. His mastery of space and time and thematic depth portrayed with interesting scripts makes him one of the best directors anywhere. “Do the Right Thing” is an incredible portrait that established many distinctive and unforgettable characters as well as a definitive space in just two hours. It’s incredible how he put such novelistic depth in just two hours. “Malcolm X” is also a personal favorite of mine. While it suffers from gaps that all biopics do, it is bravely told from an inside perspective, letting history shine in instead of showing history shining into Malcolm X’s life. Denzel Washington’s performance is electric, and the movie runs at a brisk and engaging pace, not feeling overlong despite its epic runtime.