Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Movie Review: "BlacKkKlansman" (2018)

Director: Spike Lee
Year: 2018
Rating: R
Running Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

A rookie black police detective goes undercover to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan to gather intelligence on any criminal activities with the help of a white police veteran.

BlacKkKlansman 2018 movie
"With the right white man, we can do anything." (Image Source)
"BlacKkKlasman" may sound like a sketch from Dave Chappelle's comedy show, but this movie is actually based on a true story. The film is directed by Spike Lee, who has helmed some excellent movies such as "Inside Man," "Do the Right Thing," "25th Hour," and "Malcolm X." Lee also helped write the screenplay along with Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, and Kevin Willmott, and it is based on the memoir "Black Klansman" by Ron Stalworth. Being that this is a biographical film, it centers on Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) and is about when he was a rookie cop and how he became the first black officer working at the Colorado Springs police department. A short time after his arrival, Stallworth becomes a detective and decides to go undercover to gather intelligence on the Ku Klux Klan. He contacts them over the phone, but when they want to meet in person, he seeks help from a fellow officer named Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver), a white man who happens to be Jewish. Flip goes undercover as Ron Stallworth in person while Ron plays himself on the phone. The two work together to collect intel on the criminal and/or terrorist activities the Klan may be planning in the imminent future.
BlacKkKlansman 2018 movie
"If I am not myself, who will be?" (Image Source)
"BlacKkKlansman" is a powerful, thought-provoking film that manages to blend intense drama, dark comedy, and crime thrills into one movie with an important message that needs to be said and heard, especially in our current cultural climate. Spike Lee has done a fantastic job showing how much of the rhetoric we see in politics today was used by the KKK back in the 1970s. Though we like to believe things have improved over the decades, recent events that have taken place in our country show things haven't evolved quite as much as we thought. While Adam Driver has always impressed us as an actor, keep an eye out for John David Washington because we predict he's going to be one of the greats real soon. Both Washington and Driver give Oscar-worthy, stupendous performances as Ron and Flip as they make up two halves of the same man on a quest to thwart the KKK's evildoings (though it does take some convincing to get Flip on board at first). Washington and Driver can be charming, witty and intensely serious, and they both deliver their dialogue with a great deal of nuance. The narrative is engaging from start to finish. Any time Flip is with the Klan in person, or whenever Ron is on the phone with David Duke (played by Topher Grace, who is also excellent here), there is a lingering fear that they will be discovered and/or killed. We remained on the edge of our seats every single time their operation was in danger of failing. The story affected us emotionally to the point of tears numerous times, especially at the end as it juxtaposes the conclusion of Stallworth's story with a startling summation that shows just how deep hatred still runs in America. This formidable imagery is intended to give the audience pause to reflect on the way we view certain subjects. We think its efficacy is stunning, though others may find it ham-fisted and clumsily done.
BlacKkKlansman 2018 movie
"I heard you think you're hot shit, but you're nothing but a cold fart." (Image Source)
Spike Lee has offered up what we think is a brilliant film in "BlacKkKlansman." This is one of our favorite movies of 2018. It is well-crafted, realistic, urgent, brilliantly acted, darkly satirical, and most of all, critical and necessary viewing.

My Rating: 9.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 10/10
IMDB's Rating: ~7.6/10
RT Rating: ~95%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!

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