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Clockers ★★★ 1995 (R)

Strike (Phifer), leader of a group of bottomfeeding drug dealers (“clockers”), engages in a power struggle with his boss (Lindo), his dotherightthing brother Victor (Washington), and his own conscience. He's also suspected of murder by relentless narcotics cop Rocco Klein (Keitel). Supported by an excellent cast, firsttimer Phifer surprises with a fierce and powerful performance. Lindo, in particular, stands out as the paternally evil Rodney. Aggressively edited, with Turturro's performance mostly lost on the cutting room floor. Critically lauded cinematography is marred by the occasional boom shot. Poignant and compelling street drama is based on the Richard Price novel. Lee took over after Scorsese and De Niro dropped out to make “Casino.” 128m/C VHS, DVD . Mekhi Phifer, Harvey Keitel, John Turturro, Delroy Lindo, Keith David, Isaiah Washington IV, Lisa Arrindell Anderson, Kirk “Sticky Fingaz” Jones; D: Spike Lee; W: Spike Lee, Richard Price; C: Malik Hassan Sayeed; M: Terence Blanchard.