BlacKkKlansman ★★★½

Endlessly entertaining and stylish as hell, but maybe a little too safe and easy, which is weird to say given this is Spike Lee.  

I’m just going to do a pro/con review, because the things I liked and the things I didn’t care for are pretty clear-cut.

-The soundtrack when it’s using American pop music is FANTASTIC!
-The casting of the whitest actor on planet earth to play David Duke.
-Love how Spike Lee can have fun AND be dead serious at the same time (the romance story is as adorable as the infiltration story is terrifying).
-The “white voice” having its reprise after Sorry to Bother You.
-Spike Lee having a field day making fun of Gone With the Wind.
-The sobering and in-your-face 2018 parallels.
-Spike Lee’s racially and politically-charged intercutting is powerful as always.

-The soundtrack when it’s using boilerplate temp music sucks A$$.
-Some of the KKK members are so laughably cartoonish and hammy that it undercuts the satire significantly.  These characterizations are a cut above 90’s Disney villain level (this will be a contentious point with some, admittedly, but I can’t help but feel it’s too easy in a way that’s curated for white Hollywood.  Compare this to Atlanta or Get Out, which get waaaay thornier with their racial characterizations, and Blackkklansman feels all the more superficial).
-The movie’s “cops are pigs but they aren’t but maybe they are” discussion, which started to feel like Paul Haggis’ Crash after a while (and, again,  in a way that felt curated for white audiences).  Moreover, the weird and problematic “jews aren’t outraged enough”  implication, which felt less character-specific as the movie went on and more symbolic of Jewish indifference in the US.
-Not to be a length whore, but this would have worked better at a tight 90 minutes than in an occasionally cumbersome 2-plus hours.

Overall, really good and I’m glad it exists despite my misgivings.  May Spike Lee never stop being outraged.

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