The biopic of the controversial and influential Black Nationalist leader.
The biopic of the controversial and influential Black Nationalist leader.
Denzel Washington Angela Bassett Albert Hall Al Freeman, Jr. Delroy Lindo Spike Lee Theresa Randle Kate Vernon Lonette McKee Tommy Hollis James McDaniel Ernest Lee Thomas Jean-Claude La Marre Peter Boyle Karen Allen Christopher Plummer Larry McCoy Maurice Sneed Debi Mazar Phyllis Yvonne Stickney Scot Anthony Robinson Sonny Jim Gaines Joe Seneca LaTanya Richardson Jackson Wendell Pierce Michael Guess Leland Gantt Giancarlo Esposito Leonard L. Thomas Show All…
When the white girl at the college asks Malcolm X what she can do to help his people, he responds with a blunt "Nothing." Though Malcolm X would later come around on this idea, the context of that girl's question stands out. She precedes it by asserting that she's not a bad person despite what her ancestors did, and... it's not that simple. If your parents killed someone and stole their wealth, I would not argue that you stand trial for their crimes, but I would argue that the wealth they stole should be returned. That girl (and myself) have both benefited from the white supremacist world we live in, and though we are not guilty of enslaving people or…
The closest that Spike Lee has ever gotten to touching what he managed to leave behind in Do the Right Thing was his own presentation in Malcolm X, a biopic about the famous Afro-American activist. I still remember when I first watched Malcolm X quite vividly, I was only reading about him during one of my history classes and in order to prepare for an essay, I turned on Spike Lee's feature about the man, for I didn't see only what I would have thought I could learn about Malcolm X only from reading a textbook. By the time I came out, I still found it hard enough even attempting to finish the essay although it seemed I knew what…
If the montage at the end of this film doesn't make you well up, you may just be dead inside.
Yes, it's manipulative. Yes, it's largely working with the traditional conceits of a biopic. Yes, it has an agenda.
I could not give less of a shit.
This is transcendent cinema. This is one of our greatest directors, and one of our greatest actors, telling a truly epic tale. It's grandiose. It's full of emotion and heart. It's utterly captivating throughout. It feels like eight movies in one, and yet never feels disjointed.
I honestly am lacking some of the words. It's just great. Watch it. I know it's over 200 minutes long, but it shoots by, trust me. It's worth it. Lord knows it's worth it.
I'm honestly surprised at how fast this film went for me. Never did I feel the 3 hours and 22 minutes of this epic of a biopic. Malcolm X is one of the most intricate and in depth biopics I've seen. A film that goes in depth with one of the most interesting, important, and influential people of the 20th Century. Visually stunning and intricate in its plotting, Malcolm X shows us the construction of a man who would shape the foundations of discussion of race. The library scene is amazing in how they dissect the inherent racism placed in the word just through text, how the world is constructed to think of black as inherently lower or evil…
Film #27 of Project 90
”No, we've never seen democracy! All we've seen is hypocrisy! We don't see any American Dream. We've experienced only the American Nightmare!”
Malcolm X is all about its central character, although it is portraying some iconic moments of civil rights movement but at the center of that movement is a man whose revolutionary character change is the main focus of the film. In this epic depiction of the life of one of the most influential and of course controversial figures of contemporary America, director Spike Lee portrays a restless soul who is searching for ultimate peace and harmony, a man who never lived a quiet life, from his early gangster days as Malcolm “Red” Little…
When discussing Malcolm X people talk about Denzel Washington's performance, the scope of the film, and the importance of the subject matter. All those things are there and are great, but I was not at all aware how weird this movie is. The first third, in Malcolm's (or Red as he calls himself) "gangster" days, is almost cartoonish in its costuming, colors, theatrical acting and sets. It draws on the nightmarish/dreamlike quality of a film like Night of the Hunter and the raw spontaneity of Black musicals like Stormy Weather. I'm sure those who are more film literate than me could uncover a litany of influences and references.
The film also uses discontinuous editing at times, drawing attention to a…
Spike Lee's most epic project is one of the biggest career highlights for Denzel Washington!
Some may call the film lengthy, but I prefer to see it as just being thorough. If you're going to do a movie about Malcolm X, you should include everything we need to see him as a well-rounded character/historical figure.
Highly recommended for fans of history, civil rights movies and Denzel Washington films!
For a film so long and expansive I couldn't help but feel certain transitions were rushed and not fully examined, but Spike Lee's passionate biopic of a black muslim leader may be more vital than ever, especially in the ways it demonstrates Malcolm's flaws, his own growth from discrimination to acceptance. And never has Denzel been better. His performance is incredible and immersive and I wish the film's runtime were slightly trimmed because I feel a second watch could improve my feelings but that 3+ hours makes for a daunting task.
[originally written on my blog]
First viewing, as one of three white people in a sold-out Times Square theater on opening weekend, was hands down the most electrifying moviegoing experience of my life...and yet I think I liked the film better this time, thanks to lowered expectations. For one thing, I'd completely forgotten that the first hour plays like an old-time Hollywood musical (with gangster elements, obviously), boisterous and effervescent in a way that puts more recent attempts like Chicago to shame. Standard biopic potholes surface once Malcolm joins the Nation, but Denzel's commanding, Oscar-robbed performance serves as remarkably smooth asphalt.
I'd kill for a whole introspective feature about Malcolm X's pilgrimage to Mecca, directed by, I dunno, Barry Jenkins? Ava DuVernay? Asghar Farhadi? That'd be rad.
Anyway, this is no Do the Right Thing, but it's still great, probably one of the few essential American biopics. Long, but not overlong. It goes without saying that Denzel was robbed of the Oscar and it's insane that his was the only nomination this received. Lee clearly had/has complicated feelings about the man in question and that's exactly what made him the perfect candidate to make this movie.
Some highlights from the end credits -
"Thank Allah for BILL COSBY"
"Thank Jesus for ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT"
This is the second film I’m watching in a little marathon of re-watches I’m doing during Black History Month. I don’t think I’d even seen the movie since I was, like, twelve years old and needless to say I got a lot more out of the film this time. This is one of those movies where you can clearly see on the screen that everyone involved knew they were dealing with something important and were dead set to make sure they got it right and I think they did. Biopics in the “cradle to grave” mode generally get a bad rep but this is clearly one of the exceptions that proves the rule and it goes really deep into Malcolm’s…
wow, still incredibly relevant.
we didn't land on letterboxd!!! letterboxd landed on US!!!
Fantastic. Spike Lee's direction is masterful and Denzel Washington gives one of the greatest performances ever put on film.
This could have easily been an average, forgettable, tv-film quality biopic, but Lee's careful handling of the film and it's complex main character help make it one of the most passionate, well-layered and concise historical biography films ever made.
Not to mention it's beautifully photographed and paced so well, the 3+ hr running time flows by swiftly.
And god, Denzel Washington is just so good I can't get over it. The slow zoom in shot of Malcolm X looking directly at the camera as it cuts between violent images on the television is so striking, that it has stuck with me days later.
NeverTooEarlyMP 4,761 films
Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!