Watch Chi-Raq

"No peace. No piece."
  • R
  • 2015
  • 5.9  (10,527)
  • 77

Chi-Raq is a 2015 film directed by Spike Lee that tackles gun violence and gang culture in Chicago. The movie takes its name from a combination of 'Chicago' and 'Iraq', and the film is set in the city's South Side, commonly known as the "Chi" and often marred by violence between rival gangs, particularly among African American residents.

The movie follows a group of women in the community who, tired of the violence, decide to take matters into their own hands. Their leader, Lysistrata (Teyonah Parris), calls for a sex strike, withholding from their partners until the violence comes to an end. This sparks a movement among women in the area, all of whom are dedicated to ending the cycle of violence that has gripped their community.

At the center of the story is a gang leader named Chi-Raq (Nick Cannon), whose name has become synonymous with the gun violence that plagues the city. He is a notorious figure in the community, known for his violent behavior and propensity for gunplay. However, when Lysistrata approaches him with the idea of a sex strike, he finds himself intrigued by the concept and begins to see the sense in what she is advocating for.

As the movement gains steam, it attracts the attention of the city government, particularly the Mayor (D.B. Sweeney) and his advisor, the Reverend Michael Corridan (John Cusack). The Mayor is under pressure to respond to the rising levels of violence in the city, but he is unsure how to do so effectively. Meanwhile, the Reverend is a character of great moral stature, deeply connected to the community and committed to seeing justice served.

Throughout the film, there are scenes of joyous celebration and emotional pain, juxtaposed with images of bloodshed and gun violence. The movie draws attention to the human cost of the gun violence epidemic and shows how it can impact the lives of even those who do not directly participate in it. The film also explores the various factors that contribute to the cycle of violence in urban communities, such as poverty, lack of opportunities, and systemic racism.

The performances in Chi-Raq are uniformly outstanding, with Nick Cannon and Teyonah Parris giving particularly impressive performances. Cannon masterfully portrays the charismatic and dangerous Chi-Raq, while Parris is commanding as Lysistrata, a strong-willed woman with a clear moral compass. Wesley Snipes also gives a solid performance as Cyclops, a gang leader who serves as a foil to Chi-Raq.

The film is also notable for its use of music, which is integrated in a way that is both powerful and moving. The soundtrack features a mix of contemporary and classic hip-hop music, with some of the most memorable moments of the film set to music. The cinematography is also noteworthy, with the film making use of bright and dramatic colors to create a visual style that is both striking and appropriate for the film's themes.

In terms of drawbacks, the film can at times feel didactic, with some viewers feeling that the movie overemphasizes its message while underemphasizing its characters. The movie also takes liberties with the original Greek play on which it is based, which may frustrate some viewers.

Overall, Chi-Raq is a powerful and thought-provoking film that addresses a critical issue facing many urban communities in the United States. The movie is provocative and bold, tackling one of the most pressing social issues of our time with grace and intelligence. With excellent performances, an outstanding soundtrack, and dynamic cinematography, Chi-Raq is a film that deserves to be seen and appreciated for its artistry and its message.

Chi-Raq is a 2015 drama. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 5.9 and a MetaScore of 77.

Where to Watch Chi-Raq
Chi-Raq is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime and Google Play. Some platforms allow you to rent Chi-Raq for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
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  • IMDB Rating
    5.9  (10,527)
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