BlacKkKlansman

BlacKkKlansman ★★★★

There's a heightened sense of reality that almost feels like a comic book adaptation in Spike Lee's film of the almost unbelievable story of Ron Stallworth, an African American who managed to infiltrate the KKK. While there is that sense of a comic book film, it's also clear this is being directed by an auteur with a singular sense of style but also with a message to convey, the true impact of which doesn't come until the very end, and when when it does, it acts as an enormous gut punch.

In the lead up, we see John David Washington's baptism into the Colorado Springs PD, standing out not just because of the colour of his skin, the shape of his afro but also for his dedication to the case he decides to follow and the way he manages to convince his colleagues to do the same. As he goes undercover, we see the depth of hatred in the disciples of the KKK - racism yes, but also virulent antisemitism and casual homophobia. Yet these same people are almost too over the top and you do at times feel like they are more buffoons than any real threat (outside of Jasper Pääkkönen as Felix, a seething morass of distrust and impotent rage). The bigger names on the cast, Adam Driver as Ron's partner and alter ego and Topher Grace as the infamous David Duke are unremarkable in their performances so it is left to Washington Jnr and Laura Harrier to bring this home. As well as a sobering sequence with the great Harry Belafonte which sets things up for that final hit home.

This is America as Spike Lee sees it, and you can't help but feel that the last two years have exposed a dark underbelly to the land of the free that has lingered for several decades. One hopes this is a clarion call for change to the agenda being pushed from the top and more voices like Spike's need to be heard.

Chris liked these reviews

All