A black man infiltrates the Klu Klux Klan? Yep, I’d pay to see that.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
BlacKkKlansman is a brilliant, stranger-than-fiction story about Ron Stallworth, an African-American man who managed to successfully join the Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s and launch an entire police investigation into the radical group without causing suspicion.
John David Washington stars as the dry-humoured, straight-laced Stallworth. His uncanny ability to capture the white middle-class of America through his phone calls with the Klan Grand Wizard is nothing short of hilarious. Washington gives Stallworth a lot of pride, but also delicately shows the effects long-term racism can have on a person.
Adam Driver is perfect as Flip Zimmerman, the Jewish man who goes undercover as Stallworth when meeting face to face with the Klan. Zimmerman is no-nonsense and blunt, which Drive portrays with ease, but it’s the identity crisis that Zimmerman faces while undercover that is the more interesting side of the character. While the film is largely focussed on African American rights, Driver brings another element to the story, reminding you that the Klan’s hate really has no bounds.
Ryan Eggold and Topher Grace are fantastic in supporting roles as Klan Chapter President and Grand Wizard respectively. They don’t paint the characters as unintelligent – which would have been a very easy to do – instead, they present them as everyday men who truly believe in the values that the Klan install.
BlacKkKlansman is an excellent offering from director Spike Lee, who obviously had a lot of fun making the film. It’s extremely well cast and the importance of the tale being told is certainly not missed. Lee draws a lot of inspiration from the stylistic techniques used in 1970’s television and films that were largely aimed at African Americans, and this adds a nice dynamic to the way the story is told.
The downfall of the film is the sequence of news reel clips in the epilogue. Controversial speeches from Donald Trump, police brutality, black rights marches and the infamous Charlottesville protest all make an appearance, but for me, it was unnecessary. The film had such a strong political message that the need for this end clip was just overkill, especially since it’s only real purpose was to show that the same issues being battled in the 1970’s are still being battled today.
BlacKkKlansman is funny and electric, placing a microscope on the issues that African American’s are still battling to this day. While extremely witty, there is also a sombre tone to it that draws questions towards what it means to be human vs. what colour your skin is. Definitely worth a watch.
BlacKkKlansman is available in Australian cinemas from August 9
Image (c) Universal Pictures 2018