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The movie takes place mostly in and around a New York housing project where Strike and his friends work as "clockers" - the lowest link in the drug supply chain. They work "around the clock" from benches and street corners, selling small packages to young white men who somehow know where to come to buy them.


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The clockers live in a symbiotic relationship with narcotics cops; it's as if they depend on each other to define their roles. In an early scene, the cops strip-search the clockers on the street, and we realize that if it is demeaning to be strip-searched, it is equally demeaning to be the searcher.

The clockers work for Rodney (Delroy Lindo), a supplier who cruises the streets in a silent black car and seduces young men with words that give them status. "You're my son," he tells Strike. "My sword and staff." He predicts a big future for him. And he gives him a job. Another young black man, named Darryl Adams, has banished clockers from Ahab's, the fast-food outlet he manages. If Strike will kill Darryl, Rodney promises, he can get "off the benches" and move up in the organization.

Darryl is shot. How and why he is shot, and by whom, are the questions at the core of "Clockers," which is essentially a "police procedural," as crime fiction fans would call it. Richard Price, who wrote the original novel and co-wrote the screenplay with Lee, is less concerned with the solution, however, than with the way the answer to the mystery illuminates the lives of the characters. How do you shoot someone you hardly know? Lee, a born filmmaker, moves among the points of view. There is Strike, fearful and harassed, desperately unhappy to be selling drugs; he wants to move up in Rodney's circle not so much to advance as to get away from the relentless street life. There is Victor (Isaiah Washington), his brother, a good man who works two jobs to support his family but is exhausted and strung out, discouraged that the clockers make much more money than he can.

Parents need to know that Clockers is a gripping crime drama from director Spike Lee with bloody violence, drugs, and strong language including homophobic and racist slurs. The plot surrounds a group of New York drug dealers or "clockers," led by Strike (Mekhi Phifer), whose lives are complicated by the murder of a rival drug dealer. Due to the violent and criminal setting, there are few if any positive messages or role models. The violence is constant, with a mix of real-life and cinematic gunshots and murders shown in police archive footage and in the movie itself. The police officers, led by homicide detective Rocco (Harvey Keitel), frequently joke about the deceased while standing over them. There are some brief glimpses of male and female nudity, but nothing explicit, although sex is alluded to in graphic terms. Language includes use of the "N" word, "f--k," and "p---y." There is also non-inclusive language used to discuss homosexuality and different ethnicities. Owing to the drug-dealer characters' work, there are multiple references to making money and Strike exerts some influence over others by being able to buy them things that they cannot afford. This behavior is criticized at times, though. Characters drink socially, while drugs themselves are shown being prepared for sale, sold, and used. The effects of drug addiction are both depicted and discussed.

Rocco Klein, veteran homicide detective, has had enough of life on the edge. When a warm summer night brings yet another drug-related murder, he has no sense that the case is anything special. A young black man steps forward to confess but a little digging reveals that he's never been in any kind of trouble, whereas his half-brother, Strike, runs a crew of street-corner coke dealers 'clockers' in a nearby housing project. Soon Rocco is sure that Strike is the real killer and suddenly Rocco's appetite for the job is back. With a vengeance.

Having infiltrated America's major cities, crack cocaine (or "rock") has spawned a complex and dysfunctional culture with its own laws, language and legacy. In the jargon of this limbo world, a "clocker" is a low-level runner (so named because the runner is on the street "around the clock") who serves as a conduit between dealers and addicts. Eager to make instant profits on the street, clockers spend their days preparing and distributing a product that exerts a vise-like grip on its obsessive users. But the quick cash often exacts a heavy price of its own; in any criminal enterprise, trust and loyalty are strong-armed aside by paranoia. Detailing the downward spiral of clocker whose time is running out, director Spike Lee's new film provides a stark, unflinching look at crack's deadly impact on a fictional New York neighborhood. 041b061a72


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