1998 Certificate: 15


Spike Lee's intelligent drama stars Denzel Washington as a jailbird who leans on his estranged son Jesus (Ray Allen) - a rising basketball star - to help reduce his sentence. All the boy has to do is sign for the governor's old college team. But Jesus has no interest in playing happy families. The narrative pivots and weaves to gripping effect, hustled along by Aaron Copland's cool score and an impressive supporting cast including Rosario Dawson, Ned Beatty, Milla Jovovich, John Turturro and the legendary Jim Brown.


  • Spike Lee


  • Denzel Washington

  • Ray Allen

  • Rosario Dawson

  • Milla Jovovich

  • Ned Beatty

  • John Turturro

  • Hill Harper


This confident and intelligent look at a clash between a father and son, set against the high-pressure world of American basketball, is one of Spike Lee's best films.

As always with Lee, there's as much to infuriate as stimulate audiences, but Denzel Washington draws you in to his violent character as the jailed father paroled to persuade his estranged son (Ray Allen) to sign with the governor's high school.

All the details seem exactly right, even if the views aren't, and the long film swirls along grippingly, helped by a surprise choice - Aaron Copland's distinguished score.