BlackKklansman review by Bobby Blakey
Through the years Spike Lee has offered up some powerful films, but also some that feature interesting characters and often time some humor. His latest might be the most interesting piece yet with BLACKkKLANSMAN starring John David Washington, Adam Driver, Topher Grace, Robert John Burke, Alec Baldwin, and Laura Harrier, but does it manage to bring his powerful message to this true story or will it break its cover?
BLACKkKLANSMAN follows Ron Stallworth who becomes the first African-American detective on the Colorado Springs Police Department, but his arrival is greeted with skepticism and open hostility by the department’s rank and file. Undaunted, Stallworth resolves to make a name for himself and a difference in his community. He bravely sets out on a dangerous mission: infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan. Posing as a racist extremist he contacts the group and soon finds himself invited into its inner circle. With the undercover investigation growing ever more complex, Stallworth’s colleague, Flip Zimmerman, poses as Ron in face-to-face meetings with members of hate group, gaining insider’s knowledge of a deadly plot. Together, Stallworth and Zimmerman team up to take down the organization whose real aim is to sanitize its violent rhetoric to appeal to the mainstream. The trailers to this film instantly looked great to me but I was intrigued to see what direction it was going to be going with the trailer seemingly focusing on the humour. While that is accurate for the films tone make no mistake that this is still a very powerful and effective movie on numerous levels.
The story itself is pretty outrageous and insane that it really happened, but that is usually the case. Lee has taken this crazy true story and crafted a compelling story that will not only entertain, but sends a powerful message that is sadly just as relevant today as the time it takes place. There are some great character moments here that makes you fully invested to see watch them in action whether it be something dramatic or funny. Washington does a great job in the role bringing a swagger to the part that works across the board with both the humour and drama. Driver is the perfect other side bringing a competence and acceptance in a department full of second guessers while still not fully buying into what they are doing and it working.
One of my favorites in the film was Topher Grace as David Duke. His role is smaller than some of the others in the film, but offers up some of the biggest laughs. When I mention the comedy here remember this is a dark comedy based on a horrible subject matter so the laughs are overly silly, but instead often times just at how ridiculous it all is. On the flip side there are some insanely powerful moments that Lee has crafted including one during an important speech where he uses some brilliant scene transitions of varying people’s faces focusing on the words. This is one of those scenes that is so simple, but packs more into it than most films as a whole.
In the end this is a great movie that shines a light on not only this crazy true story, but the issues of the time and sadly ones we are still dealing with today. Usually we expect to see some info regarding the true people these films are based on at the end, but here we end up getting current news footage showcasing the insanity and how it is still way to relevant today and for sparked more outrage and emotion to what I just saw in the film. It reminds you that despite this often humorous approach that this is not a joke in the real world and a very real problem that needs to be stopped.
This release not only includes the film but also bonus content that will take viewers deeper into this timely and moving true story. Join in on the sting operation and grab your copy of BLACKkKLANSMAN available now on Digital, 4K Ultra, Blu-ray and DVD from Universal Home Entertainment.