BlacKkKlansman is the latest film from Director Spike Lee who brings forward one of the best films of the year. With a great narrative, stunning visuals, compelling leads and sobering themes, BlacKkKlansman is a uniquely powerful experience, perfect for today’s socio-political climate.
BlacKkKlansman stars John David Washington as undercover cop, Ron Stallworth, Adam Driver as Flip Zimmerman, Laura Harrier as Patrice Dumas and Topher Grace as David Duke. The film, produced by Jordan Peele, brings a striking politically charged narrative that is both haunting, sobering and exhilarating. The film premises around the first black officer in the Colorado Springs police department. Based on a true story, Ron Stallworth finds himself investigating a local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. In order to infiltrate their organization and expose their racist plans to attack African American communities, Stallworth works with his white, Jewish partner, Flip, to pose as a potential KKK member to gather intel. Spike Lee brings his trademark satirical style to balance heavy, and at many points, horrifying plot details as audiences are shown an uncensored look at how members of the KKK think, act, and behave.
Spike Lee’s intentions for this film are clear from the start, as he likes to balance emotional stakes, racial tensions, powerful messages, and unsettling themes with humor, a sense of levity, and tension breakers throughout. At multiple points in the film, the humor is dropped, and a much more serious tone kicks in. One particular moment which is both emotional and inspirational, comes with a powerful speech given by Kwame Ture. Directly referencing the real events that occurred in the late 70s, one of Stallworth’s first cases as an undercover was to cover this event.
Ture’s speech is just as much for the audiences watching in the story and behind the screen. It is one that is timeless, and brings a strong feeling of inspiration as Kwame speaks on black beauty and black power. Throughout the film, especially during the KKK sequences, tones would shift fast and every few funny lines will be met by a disgustingly racist one, then continued with other kinds of humor. This back and forth of comedy and dark reality is a constant reminder for audiences that this stuff was, is, and continues to be, real.
BlacKkKlansman doesn’t shy away from its political backdrop. Lee made a film that provides striking parallel for what came before, what happened in the film, and what is happening today. Moments in the script are particularly crafted to parallel to today’s socio-political climate. Much of the KKK’s rhetoric can be traced forward to the present, goals of making America “great” again, false pretenses of “America first” and even an ironic conversation that directly references the current administration are peppered throughout the film, bringing a grim reminder that while the KKK was a force back then, there is still a strong KKK/Nazi present still prevalent and rampant in this country, only amplified by an administration that finds “very fine people” on both sides. BlacKkKlansman is an uncensored slap in the face for people who think racism is all in the past and a reminder for those who turn the other way.
BlacKkKlansman is one of the best films of the year. Spike Lee delivers on one of his best films yet with an experience that leaves you feeling very satisfied with the film on all technical levels, yet incredibly uncomfortable, frustrated and angry at the events the film brutally displays and discusses, but not without leaving hope that there is power in unity, strength with all minorities if we have the will to stand together. BlacKkKlansman embodies all of this and is a must see film for this political climate.