The appearance of the “gun” in Chi-Raq is more than just an object but a central character to the film’s politics of power. The arc of the “gun” begins with it’s birth and ends with it’s death. As part of the film’s introduction, audience members view a map of the United States of America constructed by different types of guns; this suggests the “birth” of the gun’s story line, the power it will hold for the film, and foreshadows the violence of not only Chicago, but all of the United States. In Father Mike’s sermon, he states “the gun began [a] professional career,” suggesting its sentience and potential to grow. However, we see the downfall of Gun and his “colleagues” at the very end of the film, a pile of guns sitting on display as the community reaches peace, reminiscent of a mass grave of corpses.
In Chiraq spike lee really focuses in on the conditions of the, urban center of Chicago particularly focusing on gun violence and murder. Throughout the film lee glazes over what actually causes these conditions in the communities where they occur. He sometimes alludes to systematic and institutional racism but never really delves deep into these ideas in the film. Lee then further complicates this idea of responsibility and who or what is to blame for these socio-economic conditions at the end of the film when the main character. Chiraq confesses to committing the accidental murder of Irene’s 11-year-old daughter and in an ending scene he begins to recite the lyrics of a song. As Chiraq walks down the aisle of the church there are praise dancers dancing in white behind him. The lyrics talk about gang and community members making change where they live and taking accountability for their own lives and actions. The significance of the praise dancers dressed in white dancing during his soliloquy is that they are affirming his message. The fact that praise dance is religious and they are dressed in white, a color associated with purity, good energy and cleansing affirms that Chiraq is doing the “right thing”. This sequence says to me that the conditions of Chicago are brought on by the people who live there, themselves as opposed to the conditions of violence and poverty being a result of a system. A system that fails to provide the urban centers of the world with adequate resources and opportunity, and so as a result poverty and violence are spawned. With this movie ending on that note I don’t really know how spike views this influx of violence limited to urban centers. I’m not sure if he deems it the fault of the people who inhabit these spaces or if he alludes is to system that is failing them. So the question that remains to me from the point of view as the audience for this film based on what spike has provided us with, is who is to blame.