When first seeing the trailer for famous director Spike Lee’s latest film BlacKkKlansman, I thought it had not only an interesting premise, but a stylistic, exploitative look – seemingly marketed as a comedy.
Although after having seen the film, it can be argued its genre is crime or drama, certainly not comedy, but it is surely undeniable that it is brilliant none the less.
In this film based on real events in the early 1970’s, actor John David Washington plays Ron Stallworth, the first African-American detective to serve in the Colorado Springs Police Department. With racial tensions rampant throughout society, Ron attempts to combat the racism of a hateful, predominantly white society, as well as oppose the institutionalised racism of his police department.
Furthermore, striving to prove himself as just as capable as the rest of his colleagues, Ron initiates an undercover operation to infiltrate and expose the awful white supremacist group, the Ku Klux Klan.
Besides a fantastic script of thought-provoking dialogue and an excellent narrative, Lee’s newest film runs rampant with brilliant cinematography. From the opening scene illustrating the incompetency of white supremacists to the Dutch angles depicting then Grand Wizard David Duke’s warped and vile ideologies and the raw, final sequence of the film, the director truly delivers such an insightful, real film that truly affects the audience.
The production elements, to name a few, employ colour to convey emotion, blaxploitation references, editing that intercuts African American and the Ku Klux Klan’s meetings to depict the harsh differences between the two and both diegetic and non-diegetic sound to construct tense sequences.
Additionally, the score of the film was very emotive, as well as suitable for the film, wonderfully composed by Terrence Blanchard.
This is a film that is both well written and well made.
Moreover, throughout the film and even after it ended, my heart was racing from the suspense and tension of seeing such interesting and likable protagonists in imminent danger. That is due to the performances of both the protagonists and antagonists, allowing the audience to support Ron’s journey and mission, whilst genuinely hate and simultaneously fear the villainous hate speech and melioristic actions of Ku Klux Klan’s members.
As evident from my review, it is clear that I thoroughly enjoyed and supported the message of the film and how in many aspects it is without a doubt one of the best films of 2018.
The powerful message is of course that racial hate is to be lamented and loathed for the pain suffering and oppression it has caused, but should be even more hated for the fact that it is still strong and occurring today.
That being said, the run time of being two hours and fifteen minutes long, while in my opinion certainly not feeling that long, may cause some viewers to be bored.
It is also understandable that some audience members may find the film to be hard to watch due to its serious subject matter, constant racial slurs, as well as the hate speech and resentment of minorities spouted by the antagonists.
While this is intentional, it may be too much to handle for some viewers, especially those thinking the film was a comedy.
Overall, what is both brilliant and frustrating is the ending of this film, although I will not give it away, it is both purposefully disappointing to the characters and the audience as a whole.
The tragicness of the film is that a story of racial wars that occurred in the 1970’s is still all too relevant in 2018. And yet, from seeing this entertaining and powerful film, maybe we as a society can learn from history’s mistakes and make a better world.
Even though it may not be a film for everybody, I cannot recommend BlacKkKlansman enough as an influential, important film that should be seen by all.
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