BlacKKKlansman May Be Spike Lee’s Best Film
September 13, 2018
The 49th in a long line of Spike Lee Joints, “BlacKKKlansman” gives its audience a glimpse of early 1970s America; a time in which tensions between the races of the country were at an all time high and focused on the challenges African Americans who wanted to change what was expected of them faced.
Aside from a subtle comedic tone and multiple laugh-out-loud moments BlacKKKlansman includes strong messages about race and society that ring as true today as they did 48 years ago. The situations the black characters find themselves in are usually realistic but the movie is not without its exaggerations.
Incredibly based on a true story, the main character, Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) is the first black police officer to serve within the Colorado Springs Police Department and, despite the prejudice he is faced with, is determined to make a name for himself. Stallworth finally gets his chance after catching wind of a potential Klu Klux Klan attack against the black population of his town. Stallworth contacts the local sect of the Klan- impersonating a white man- and infiltrates the Klan itself. With the help of his more experienced partner, Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver) Stallworth undergoes a high-risk high-reward undercover investigation that may end up costing them their jobs and even their lives.
Despite a fair balance between light hearted comedy and thought provoking themes, “BLacKKKlansman” is a hard R. The language and actions taken are brutally authentic to the time period to the point where they may upset some viewers. In light of these concerns, the film is filled with excellent performances by the main and supporting cast; each character feels like they belong and never take you out of the experience by being too over the top. Lee presents message of the film using the effective show don’t tell method; being full of jokes, allusions and acute comparisons, along with footage from multiple recent racial incidents, drawing strong parallels between the problems within the societies of yesterday and today.
“BlacKKKlansman” may be some of the best work Spike Lee has produced and is an incredible story that needs to be heard by all people—young and old–living in the America of today.