BlacKkKlansman ★★★

I should preface this by saying that overall I liked this movie. It has a ton to say, in particular about cross-racial solidarity that I think is really brilliant and valuable. In particular, the way it uses Adam Driver's character to touch on the idea that racial identity is foisted upon people against their will. This is maybe the cogent and insightful part of this movie's politics.

Less so is the stuff about black people as they relate to the police. This is an issue the movie is constantly bringing up, but it felt like it veered dangerously close to "a few bad apples" kind of logic, before turning away and ultimately really not staking out any kind of position at all, Nobody is really forced to make any meaningful choices between the commitment to the police or to racial justice before the movie ends. What we get here is a movie that is more firm in its understanding of the evils of racism than most. But it doesn't really interrogate what drives white supremacy, or make an argument about the right or wrong way to fight it.

I found the ending to be moving and powerful. It's a bold choice that I'm sure will be very divisive, (and I'm not sure how it would hold up for me a second time without the surprise factor) but I like the way it just abandons the narrative structure of the movie and launches into pure polemic.

All that said: it's really frustrating how much of that is undermined by all the incredibly thudding and cringeworthy stabs at Trump that we see earlier within the narrative itself. The comparisons are already drawn with such clarity through the story without so much as a mention of "Making America Great Again". Lee refuses to let history speak for itself, and that cheapens the impact of the ending. Which is a real shame.

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