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Parents' Guide to


By Alistair Lawrence, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

'90s crime drama has drugs, racism, violence, swearing.

Movie R 1995 128 minutes
Clockers Poster Image

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It might lack the memorable set pieces and performances of director Spike Lee's better-known work, but this tightly-plotted crime drama has become something of a cult favorite. Adapted for the screen from Richard Price's lengthy novel, Clockers removes much of the book's setup and instead focuses on the events that spiral out of control following a drug dealer's murder. Phifer might not have the star power to truly shine as central character Ronald "Strike" Dunham, but from the lengthy, music video-esque opening set piece he plays Strike with an every man quality to make his long-since compromised sense of morality understandable. Delroy Lindo and Harvey Keitel get the more interesting roles as drug kingpin Ronald and unrelenting police detective Rocco, and neither shy away from making their presence felt.

Clockers is of its time and now feels slightly dated because of it. A more modern take would've perhaps given us more of the lives of the supporting characters endangered by the local drug trade, as was explored in later seasons of The Wire and other TV series. But it remains a well-crafted crime drama and feels real and true enough to still hit close to home.

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