Gabi Goyette’s review published on Letterboxd:
This film was great. It would have been really easy to make this heavy handed or overly emotional, but Spike Lee reigned it in enough to feel our own feelings without being hit over the head with them. I thought Ron was really well cast, and that he had the perfect very subtle naive expressions when he started on the force. I thought there was a balanced amount of plot and character developments. I liked that the presumed happy ending where Ron busts the KKK wife and the racist cop is juxtaposed with the next scene of the police director shutting down the investigation. It made it feel much more frustrating that something like that would be shut down when they’re doing all this good. Then to see all of the footage from just last year of violent rallies and of David Duke was very powerful.
I also thought the costume design was amazing and that the film played with some interesting cinematography. I think there are some good examples of how static shots can work in a movie like that. I also noticed that Ron’s perspective and David’s perspective when they were talking on the phone were tilted at an angle in the background. David’s slopes up. Ron’s slopes down. I would be interested to hear why they chose this technique for these scenes. Maybe it was to show David’s uphill battle with trying to make America understand his outdated rhetoric and the ease at which Ron is taking him down. I also really enjoyed the way the dance scene was shot near the beginning. The colors, the costumes, and the general feeling of joy that it exuded was really powerful. I think this movie could have been even more powerful had it pushed the cinematography envelope even just a little bit more.