The first glimpse into Spike Lee's film "Chiraq" was revealed to the public Tuesday as the official trailer was released.
Punctuated by the sound of gunshots, the trailer confirms the film's focus on gun violence in Chicago. It opens with a narrator saying, "Homicides in Chicago, Illinois, have surpassed the death toll of American Special Forces in Iraq," followed by the proclamation, "Welcome to Chiraq."
The film is set to be released on Dec. 4 in select theaters, according to an Instagram post from Lee on Friday.
During the filming and the days leading up to the film's release, Lee offered few details about the plot or nature of the film. A May report from Screen Daily, however, claimed "Chiraq" would be a reimagined production of the ancient Greek comedy "Lysistrata," a story in women withhold sexual privileges to try to stop the Peloponnesian War. Clips in the "Chiraq" trailer appear to confirm this report.
The movie was filmed in Chicago over the summer with many Chicagoans standing in as extras. It features several stars, including Nick Cannon, Wesley Snipes, Jennifer Hudson, Teyonah Parris, Samuel L. Jackson and John Cusack, who appears to be a priest and activist, according to a shot in the trailer.
"Chiraq" is a slang term some use to compare America's third largest city to a war zone because of its violent crime. Its use as the name of the film was criticized heavily by some politicians, including Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who said it denigrates residents of Englewood and surrounding areas, where much of the movie was filmed.
Lee tried to quell the onslaught of criticism in May by telling Chicagoans to "see it first" before they offer negative comments.
"A lot of things have been said about this film, by people who know nothing about the film" Lee said in a past news conference. "A lot of people have opinions about the so-called title of the film. Again, they know nothing about the film."
The film, released by Amazon Studios, is the first-ever Amazon Original Movie. The company said the movie could be Lee's "greatest, and definitely his boldest, film yet."