BlacKkKlansman is a biographical drama film directed by Spike Lee and written by Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, and Lee. It is based on the 2014 memoir Black Klansman by Ron Stallworth and stars John David Washington along with Adam Driver, Laura Harrier, and Topher Grace.
The Story/The Direction:
This film takes place in the 1970s in Colorado Springs where the first African-American detective, Ron Stallworth (Washington) in the police department, who infiltrates the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. He calls them on the phone and Driver's character acts when they have to meet face to face. After starting off in records, Stallworth is assigned to infiltrated the local college's Black student group’s rally with activist and former Black Panther Kwame Ture/Stokely Carmichael (Corey Hawkins). Here he meets the group's president Patrice (Harrier) who he sparks up a relationship with but does not inform her that he is a police detective as she is completely against the police. This is one of the dualities of the film that Lee tackles where an African American cop cannot be for the black power movement because of his profession.
Another duality that he tackles is the radicalness of the two groups in the film. While their reasons for organizing may be different and the KKK is clearly based on hate, the functional radicalness of the two groups are similar. This duality is also shown in the best scene in the film that shows the KKK reacting to the racist yet so-called "masterpiece," The Birth of a Nation. Both stories that are told in this scene are one hundred percent real and shows the cruelty that the KKK has done to society. Lee does illustrate that the KKK is clearly is worse and wrong but he also seems to show that even though one may fighting for equal treatment, "an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind." This message plus the writing is what makes this film extremely powerful. The script combines both drama and comedy flawlessly. It also parallels a lot of the situations in 1972 to today either through dialogue or actions while not done in an overpowering way. How certain characters act and speak may not be one hundred percent accurate but one can easily believe they could have said these words and acted the way they did.
The entire cast is fantastic especially Washington as Stallworth who is a chip off the old block. He is able to capture the problems that Stallworth has with the racism surrounding him and how he feels about the Black Power movement. He is a man who wants to help the cause but does not want to do it in a violent way. He wants to help through the system but understands why the movement. Flip Zimmerman (Driver) is a non-practicing Jewish man is the man who plays the racist white person and because of his skin color, it would seem that it would be easy for him. However, he has to deal with a lot of antisemitism that show him how similar he is to Stallworth. Hawkins is able to capture Ture's mannerisms perfectly and Grace's depiction of David Duke is great. The rest of the cast is also very good.
The only flaw with this film is that the relationship that Stallworth has with Patrice seems a little forced and rushed. The relationship is only there to have Stallworth interact with the Black Power movement and nothing more even though Harrier is pretty good in her role.
This film is powerful and very important to see. The message, acting, and the story is there to keep anyone entertained for the entire runtime. and any fan of Lee's movies will enjoy this film. While not Lee's best film, it is definitely one of this top three and arguably one of the best of 2018 so far. This great film has potential to win Best Adapted Screenplay and is worth definitely checking out.
Rating: 4.5/5.0 bowties
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