Tuesday, August 21, 2018

A Glass Of Wine At The Movies - BlacKkKlansman


Rating: R

Director: Spike Lee

Language: English

Length:  135 minutes

Cast: John David Washington, Adam Driver, Topher Grace

Viewing Method: Regular Screening

Release Date: August 10, 2018

Synopsis: From visionary filmmaker Spike Lee comes the incredible true story of an American hero. It's the early 1970s, and Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) is the first African-American detective to serve in the Colorado Springs Police Department. Determined to make a name for himself, Stallworth bravely sets out on a dangerous mission: infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan. The young detective soon recruits a more seasoned colleague, Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver), into the undercover investigation of a lifetime. Together, they team up to take down the extremist hate group as the organization aims to sanitize its violent rhetoric to appeal to the mainstream. Produced by the team behind the Academy-Award (R) winning Get Out.


I left BlacKkKlansman knowing I wanted to review it. I also am very aware that my voice is not the one you should be seeking out when looking for opinions on this movie. If my review is the first you've read for this movie I urge you to go and check out the reviews written by black people before reading mine. 

Spike Lee always draws interest as a director. I have only seen a few of his movies, but if this one is anything to go from, he has a detailed eye and a gift for capturing a beautiful shot. The advance buzz of a potential Oscar nomination for his work on this movie is warranted. There is that undefinable quality that is evident when you're watching a well directed movie and BlacKkKlansman has it.

The movie is set in the 70's and yet  parallels to today are blatant and unmissable. This is particularly true when Topher Grace's David Duke begins spouting rhetoric about making America great. The harsh truth is that we like to think we've made a lot of progress in last fortyish years, but we really haven't. The movie hammers home this fact time and time again while almost screaming at the injustice of it. I predict it would be a sobering wake up call for many (if only the people who actually needed it would see this movie).

The movie manages certainly has its comedic moments despite dealing with some more serious issues. There is humour to be found in many of the scenes where Ron Stallworth is dealing with members of the Ku Klux Klan. He makes them look like fools and there is something gratifying about seeing these exchanges that take place. The blending of two different tones of this movie is another stand out of the directing choices. The fit naturally together without feeling abrupt or out of place. The humorous moments are used at the right time as well. They're not jarring or placed where they wouldn't work as effectively.

In a movie with a ton of memorable moments, there is one that stood out to me and has been something I've thought about multiple times since seeing the movie. A scene where two characters are talking about the slicked up David Duke and how he is looking to present a more 'sanitized' face of the Ku Klux Klan and what implications that has. The one character mention this hatred getting into public office, for instance, as a natural result of this. The other character guffaws and says that the American people would never vote someone like that in. It is a moment so steeped in the present that you almost expect the actor to break the fourth wall and look directly into the camera (a la Jim Halpert). Spike Lee had a loud message he wanted to get across in making this movie and he certainly succeeded, and offered up a conversation starter of a movie as a result.

All of the performances are solid. It is hard to pick a stand out because everyone has pretty great material to work with and does convincing work with what they are given. John David Washing, Adam Driver, and Topher Grace are certainly the three I think people will talk about after leaving the movie but there are some great actors in supporting roles that are just as interesting.

Adam Driver's role as the white cop who is the 'face' behind this undercover operation ends up having more of the tension filled moments. The bulk of the tension is woven into his story arc which, at times, made John David Washington's arc feel a little uneven. It is saved by a great storyline involving a woman Ron meets. The conversations and interactions between the two characters show us a lot of about who Ron is and I felt they were where John David Washington did some of his best work.

The ray of light that this movie offers is the notion that people working together is the best way to combat racism. We get numerous scenes of people of different backgrounds working together in various ways to expose, and dismantle, racism. This message that it is not something that one person, or one group of people, can undo by themselves is a powerful motivator and the subtle brushstrokes of this theme are well done.

I left this movie angry. Angry that the people who need to see this movie are exactly the ones who would never go to it. This movie's message is one that the people going to see will already be on board with. My only hope is that it angers people who do watch it enough to inspire them to get more involved in politics and to take their right to vote seriously. That anger has to lead to action and that is, perhaps, the movie's strongest message.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love comments. Thank you for stopping by my blog and thank you even more for leaving me a comment.

I have decided to make this an awards free blog. I appreciate the gesture, and love that you thought of my blog, however I simply can't pass them along as required.

You Might Also Like

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...