CAST: JOHN DAVID WASHINGTON, ADAM DRIVER, PATRICE DUMAS AND TOPHER GRACE
DIRECTED BY: SPIKE LEE
RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 10, 2018
The legendary and charismatic director Spike Lee has once again graced us with a controversial film that leaves audience members entertained but makes them pontificate as well. Lee’s latest trek into self evaluation is entitled BlacKKKlansman which delves into the infiltration of the notorious hate group, The Klu Klux Klan (KKK), by an African American man. BlacKKKlansman is Lee’s 38th feature film and it is critically acclaimed as well as loved by audiences. The budget for the film was $15 million and the box office on opening weekend almost amassed that by earning an estimated $10 million. After being out in theaters for five weeks, the film has grossed over $65.5 million. With the success of this film Lee’s name may be mentioned during Oscar time next year like it was in 1990 for Do The Right Thing in the Best Original Screenplay category and in 1998 for Four Little Girls in the Best Documentary category. We’ll just have to wait and see.
The film takes place in the 1970s and stars Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) who becomes the first African American to work for the Colorado Springs Police Department. To begin, Stallworth is placed in the Records Department and endures the typical racial harassment during that time era. After realizing that his talents can be best served somewhere else he asks his boss, Chief Bridges (Robert John Burke) if he can be transferred to a different division and the Chief declines his request. Upon further thought the Chief grants Stallworth’s request and sends him to the Undercover Division of the Department.
Stallworth’s first case was to go to Colorado College and spy on poignant speaker Kwame Ture (Corey Hawkins) and make certain he wasn’t instigating the young African American students to rise up against oppression. While there, Stallworth met Patrice (Laura Harrier), the President of the Black Student Union, who would later become his love interest.
After finding nothing too incriminating on Ture, Stallworth’s next endeavor, which is what the audience came to see, found him initiating the first steps of infiltrating the KKK. He began having conversations with Klan member Walter Breachway (Ryan Eggold) over the phone which lead to a face-to-face meeting with the rest of the members in the Colorado Springs Chapter. The personal meetings were handled by Stallworth’s Jewish partner Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver). Stallworth’s over the phone conversations were so convincing that he even gets a chance to speak with the Grand Wizard of the KKK David Duke (Topher Grace) who takes a liking to him. Ironically, the two races that Duke despises the most, Jews and African Americans, are the two races that lead to his downfall.
The film from then on reaches a lot of peaks and valleys and at times becomes a snooze fest while attempting to bring everything to a conclusive Hollywood ending where the audience will cheer for the protagonist. Washington and Driver work extremely well together as a duo with Washington’s comedic timing being superb and Driver’s gritty no nonsense demeanor almost being Clint Eastwoodesque. The culture of the film was very nostalgic with its big Afros, Butterfly collars and Bell bottoms. It gave the audience that 70’s feel with a soundtrack that will make you tap your feet in the theater and reminisce about a time not too long ago. With the issues happening within the United States currently the film reflects on what happened almost 50 years ago is still relevant now. Love him or hate him, Spike Lee makes you think about issues that many people don’t like to speak about.
I give BlacKKKlansman 8 stars out of 10 stars.