Now before reading this and before balking at the fact that I consider BLACKKKLANSMAN to be Spike Lee’s best film…ever…just know that I have seen Do The Right Thing, Malcolm X, 25th Hour, He Got Game, Summer of Sam, Inside Man…I’ve seen most of his filmography, yes, even the very mediocre remake of Oldboy. I can 200% back up with all my film watching confidence in the world tell you that Blackkklansman is (my) favorite Spike Lee film. It is a masterpiece of epic proportions that make it required viewing in the times that we are living in today. It speaks to several layers of racism, media coverage, politics, and even employment all at once that makes up a remarkable, entertaining, shocking, thoughtful, and heartfelt true story. If this doesn’t come away with a couple of Oscars come Feb 2019, everyone should be ashamed of themselves.
Everything about this movie is special. From the hard hitting opening with a cameo by a very well known famous actor, to the gut punch of a ending stinger showing real life events of horrors we have to deal with today, to every grand thing in between, is masterful. The movie is based on a true story of Ron Stallworth, the first black detective in Colorado Springs, Colorado police department that successfully infiltrates the Ku Klux Klan. He does this by calling them himself and having his detective partner Flip (played by Adam Driver), do all the in person stuff. All the intricacies of how he does it and how he keeps it so long I’m going to let the movie show you, because the journey is the full ride. One could argue that Spike Lee’s films for the past decade have been mostly point and shoot films, with none of his signature style that he gave us in his early movies such as Do The Right Thing or Malcolm X. One could also argue those are the only movies we was allowed or hired to make so his heart wasn’t really in it. Well, please welcome Spike Lee back into the fold. His direction here is flawless. You can tell his heart and soul was completely in this picture. He has some of his signature style mixed in with some new ultra cool shots that reminded me of the great blaxploitation films of the 70’s, they even mention a couple such as Shaft and Superfly.
I also loved how the movie didn’t just go right into Ron Stallworth infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan. The film starts as a slow burn that just keeps escalating and escalating until the fantastic finally where everything was paid off. They start off Ron going undercover at a Black Panthers meeting where actor Cory Hawkins speech as Kwame Ture is breathtaking and powerful. Ron Stallworth also has a love interest in the movie played by Spider-Man Homecoming’s Laura Harrier. And their relationship in the film is one of the best romantic subplots I have seen so far in films of 2018. It naturally progresses and it felt real, not manufactured or rushed. Interestingly enough, I can’t fail to mention that Ron Stallworth is played by Denzel Washington’s son (yes, THAT DENZEL) John David Washington. Evidentally, his son obviously inherited some of his father’s acting chops, because he is incredible in this. Heck, everyone is incredible. You don’t think Adam Driver can act? Compare his performances in this and the Last Jedi, if that doesn’t prove this guy can act, I don’t know what will for you. He is great as Stallworth’s Jewish detective partner and their chemistry shines.
Heck, Topher Grace, who I think is an absolutely terrible one note actor, gives the best performance of his career as David Duke (real life ‘grand wizard’ of the Klu Klux Klan). They show a little clip at the end of the film of the real David Duke, and my God did Topher do his homework to actually portray this weird and awful individual. Another individual that you probably hadn’t heard of because his career is mostly in Finnish movies, and he just broke out here in America with the show Vikings is Jasper Pääkkönen, who plays Felix Kendrickson, a very nasty racist who tries to prove that Flip isn’t who he says he is the entire film.
This movie is powerful and easily one of the best of the year. And again, in my opinion, I think this is Spike Lee’s best film. He took the time, passion, and love, pouring his blood, sweat, soul, and tears into this film, and it completely pays off. Its message is powerful, the story is amazing, it walks that fine line between comedy, dark comedy, and drama, and is entertaining the entire run time. Come nomination time, this movies title will probably be said over and over again. In fact, if it doesn’t, there may be some serious backlash towards the Academy. It really is a near perfect film. Please check it out, it is vitally important that you do.