“BlacKkKlansman” stars John David Washington, Adam Driver, Laura Harrier, and Topher Grace. Released on August 10, 2018, the film is about an African American detective who infiltrates the Ku Klux Klan.
The film is directed by Spike Lee, who also directed films such as “She’s Gotta Have It”, “Do the Right Thing”, “Malcolm X”, and “Inside Man”. It is based on the book, Black Klansman, by Ron Stallworth. Racism can be a tricky topic to talk about, especially when it is portrayed in film, but no one expresses it better than Spike Lee. The film I’ll be looking at today sees Lee envisioning an unbelievable true story that involves the dreadful Ku Klux Klan. I was surprised to find out that this bizarre event actually happened a few decades ago. Then again, I’m always surprised to see unbelievable events that turn out to be true. This is actually my first time watching a Spike Lee film because I have never watched any of his films before this one. I heard that his films were well-made, yet controversial, but I didn’t get the chance to view any one of them, so it would be interesting for me to see what his filmmaking style is like. Plus, I get to learn some more history. It’s a win-win for me.
Similar to Lee’s other films, the story in “BlacKkKlansman” offers plenty of elements that deal with hatred and racism. Whether these topics are uncomfortable or not is entirely up to the viewer. For those who haven’t even heard of Spike Lee, he’s the type of director who’s not afraid to portray these themes in the most honest way possible. They may be a bit hard for some people to witness, but they’re the things that we need to learn so that we don’t repeat these events in the present day. This film shows that Lee still hasn’t lost his personal goal. It’s not an emotionally-driven experience that I was hoping for, but it’s still a well-made and important film that moviegoers and Spike Lee fans should see. John David Washington was a proper standout as Ron Stallworth, a rookie detective who goes undercover to expose the Ku Klux Klan. Funny thing I noticed about this actor is that he’s the son of Denzel Washington. No kidding. He even sounds like Denzel during certain scenes. Like father, like son, I suppose. Adam Driver was also brilliant as Flip Zimmerman, a coworker who assists Stallworth. He still acts the same as usual, but I still find him to be a confident actor who knows how to make his roles convincing. Spike Lee should at least get some recognition for his direction because as I mentioned before, he knows how to be honest towards the problems we’re living with today as well as staying faithful to the real-life event it’s based on. The film’s screenplay also helps in not holding back on the language and the violence that the community in the 70s was known for. The only two things that I had problems with while watching this was the pacing and the characters. There were a few scenes that had a hard time maintaining my interest due to its slow pacing and the two-hour plus running time. As for the characters, let’s just say that I would like to see more of their chemistry together without expanding the film’s running time. I also thought that the relationship between Stallworth and Patrice Dumas (played by Laura Harrier) could’ve been handled better.
Overall, “BlacKkKlansman” is what you expect from a Spike Lee film: provocative, honest, and mature. It’s not a perfect representation of the unbelievable true story in terms of emotional depth and the pacing, but it is held together by a great cast, Lee’s direction, and a smart screenplay. Maybe someday I will look at the other films by Spike Lee and see how they compare with this one. Unless you feel uncomfortable with these types of films, it’s worth a watch.