In Spike Lee’s career, Do the Right Thing and Bamboozled are two of his most provocative attacks on racism. His angry stance on racial prejudice is similar and evident in both films, but he employs very different narrative and aesthetic methods to make his points. Released in 1989, Do the Right Thing, one of Lee’s first films, is much more raw, fiery, and confrontational. Bamboozled, released in 2000, is a satire that utilizes more sophisticated techniques. These two films highlight a progression in Spike Lee’s career and reveal him as a true auteur.
Even though Do the Right Thing and Bamboozled are both Lee masterpieces about racism, the time gap in between them allows the viewer to discern a notable evolution in his filmmaking. With Do the Right Thing, Lee was just starting out, and his youthful energy pulsates off the screen. It is not an immature film by any means, but there is something very fresh and raw about it. His anger is obvious, as furious as the flames that engulf Sal’s pizza shop. Bamboozled displays more sophistication and subtlety - narratively and aesthetically. It takes place in the corporate world, one he was very much a part of at this point in his career, and his views on corruption are evident. It is not literally in the viewer’s face like Do the Right Thing, but it is just as poignant and socially conscious because of the brilliantly nuanced satire. Do the Right Thing basically introduced Spike Lee to the world, and Bamboozled, with a different approach, proved he was not going anywhere.