Red Hook Summer
While thematically, ‘Hook’ seems to be a little schizophrenic (is it a ‘coming of age’ tale, a cultural piece on urban black America, or is it a story of secrecy and redemption?), I found the film emotionally stirring on two levels. First, that late twist in the end that explores the theme of secrecy relates closely to my story as a theology student and church leader. As I witnessed Bishop Enoch’s confrontation, I felt sad. Sad that he had never possessed the courage to own up; sad that he lived in shame and fear; sad that his ‘healing’ was never shared. In that confrontation I also felt sad for the man he abused – and as I watched the scene (an odd flash back concoction) that depicted it, I was horrified and physically overcome with grief. I would argue that even though the surprise was unlikely and not fitting with the overall tone (the vivid colors or metaphorically), it fit the story and helped explain why Bishop Enoch, a gifted preacher in that tradition, would move from a more lucrative and influential position in Atlanta for the ghetto in Brooklyn. In a sense, it is Flik’s attitude and video that tell the truth all along: Enoch is not trustworthy and things aren’t as bright and cheery as everyone else believes.
The second piece I found emotionally gripping was the portrayal of the church and Christianity. Not only was the Bishop’s revealed hypocrisy difficult to watch, his self-righteous, narrow, and judgmental style of ministry were embarrassing. This is clearly not because the portrayal was untrue to reality, but precisely because of its truth. I felt embarrassed and sad because I believe many people walk away from Jesus because of the church – but yet believe they are walking away from God.