BlacKkKlansman

BlacKkKlansman ★★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

There are some genuinely great and important things this film does. The scenes with the Black Student Union are breathtaking, especially the first speech. Topher Grace, probably much to his personal chagrin, is actually a great David Duke: there's a physical resemblance but he also captures that slimy, calculating yet baffoonish nature. I think the film wants to be saying that the racists are more than baffoonish and idiotically bigoted but I think it gets too caught up in staging their behavior as jokes (though thankfully there was only nervous laughter in my audience). It does succeed, at showing them as true threats, intelligent or not.
My biggest complaint is that there are set ups without payoffs. Adam Driver's character gets a really nice set up of having a personal investment in the operation and then just when it looks like he might get in a real sticky and dangerous scrape, they drop his development and plotline almost completely. The film may not be about him and certainly should not center on him, but felt like a dangling thread at the end.

The very end was greatly disturbing to me. I had no idea it was coming and it was especially jarring after the fantastical, wish-fulfillment ending and so I was really unprepared to see the real-life violent footage of the car driving into the crowd last year in Charlottesville when someone was killed. I don't necessarily object to it being there, but I think there are viewers who would prefer to know it was coming.

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