“All power to all people.”
BlacKkKlansman tells the story of Ron Stallworth, an African American rookie police officer looking into the racism and violent threats of the Ku Klux Klan during the height of the 1970s Civil Rights movement. However, because of the color of his skin, Stallworth must enlist the help of his fellow officers to infiltrate the Klan 100%, while playing along to all the KKK stereotypes along the way. But as Stallworth falls deeper and deeper down the racist rabbit hole, the bolder the KKK begins to get, creating threats to the local African American community in the city. Director Spike Lee (Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X) brings this eccentric true story to life in what can easily be called Lee’s best “Joint” in recent years.
Newcomer John David Washington, who plays Ron Stallworth does an exceptional job at bringing our main character to life. What? He sounds familiar? You may know a similar voice in Washington’s father, Denzel. It’s hard for the son or daughter of a famous actor to escape the shadow of their parent. But if Washington was going to do it in his career, this is the film that makes people surely take notice of him purely for his acting. His mannerism and dialect onscreen felt so organic to the character. Not to mention his funny interactions with Adam Driver. Driver who plays Flip Zimmerman, is Stallworth’s fellow officer that physically infiltrates the KKK. Driver’s acting, I must say, keeps getting better and better. There was a time when I wasn’t as impressed with his acting as I am today. But with Driver’s portrayal in recent dramatic pieces, I must say this man may just be one of those actors that will continue to be talked about for years and years to come.
But let’s not count out Lee’s direction. He doesn’t shy away, nor has he ever shied away, from showing such blatant racism at its most vulgar. However, BlacKkKlansman puts on a more comedic tone for making fun at these horrid men and women, to the point where they simply look like morons. I mean… if the shoe fits, right? But in all seriousness, the comedic level comes in at the perfect times, while still showing those all-encompassing dramatic scenes. BlacKkKlansman, as a whole, is something that I haven’t seen Lee do in a while, or at least that I can recently recall. It doesn’t just feel like a film, but more like a piece of art. During the speech of Kwame Ture, the shots of the listeners looked as if there were taken from a portrait. And with some directors making films so they can simply say that they just pumped out another film, it’s really nice to see a director that takes so much pride in his work.
BlacKkKlansman is a fun movie to watch, while also digesting some interesting and vital information. The end of the film will hit you like a ton of bricks and may be a little tough to watch, so I warn you. But even in all of this film’s glory, I still wanted a little bit more. But then again, I may just be getting greedy. BlacKkKlansman is no doubt Lee’s best film in a long while. But when everything comes together, this film may just be too real to take.
Directed by: Spike Lee
Starring: John David Washington, Adam Driver, Laura Harrier