Joyce Heinen’s review published on Letterboxd:
Director Spike Lee starts with a raging Alec Baldwin, trying to film a promo video for the Ku Klux Klan. We also see clips from “Gone with the Wind”, a classic with a doubting reputation because it romanticized the slave period. The opening scene is funny, but also has a worrying undertone. And that’s also the tone for “BlacKkKlansman”. Lee tells the bizarre yet true story about racism in the 70s, which shows the painful and entertaining political and social situation and brings it back to modern day America.
“BlacKkKlansman” is a typical Spike Lee movie: angry, funny, colorful, painful and topical. It’s funny to see Alec Baldwin being cast as a KKK member, he is known for his Trump imitation. And lines like ‘America First’, ‘take back our country’ and ‘to achieve its greatness again’ are used very often in this film.
This starting point is perfect for a director like Spike Lee. At the end of the 70s, the black cop Ron Stallworth manages to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan branch in Colorado Springs. he pretended to support the KKK and was in close contact over the phone with the klan, even with the ‘Imperial Wizard’ David Duke himself. When he has to meet the members, he sends his white, Jewish colleague Flip Zimmerman.
The movie is based on Stallworth’s book, that he wrote many years after the fact because of secrecy.
The most impressive scene is also the one with the least nuance. Lee jumps masterfully between two meetings that happen at the same time: a ceremony where members of the KKK are cheering during the showing of the classic film “Birth of a Nation” and a meeting of a black student group where an elderly man tells about how his childhood friend was killed by the KKK.
“BlacKkKlansman” is a fantastic film, with a parallel between the past and present. It’s powerful and very wonderfully done, how Lee manages to wrap the heavy message into an entertaining cover. John David Washington is really the man to watch and Adam Driver is amazing as Flip Zimmerman.