In a time where it seems everyone is split by their political differences and racism pokes its ugly head into the mainstream, incomporable filmmaker Spike Lee tells a story from our past that echoes with today’s atmosphere. With a filmography that includes Do The Right Thing, Jungle Fever, Bamboozled, 25th Hour and Inside Man, Lee has a history of making thought-provoking, topical stories that draw in the audience. This time around, Lee brings us the true story of Ron Stallworth, a detective who sought to bring down the Klu Klux Klan.
Stallworth (played by John David Washington, son of Denzel) was the first black police officer to join the precinct in Colorado Springs, CO and to prove his worth, decides to come up with a plan to infiltrate the local chapter of the KKK. Having only made telephone communication with the group’s leader, David Duke (Topher Grace), Stallworth seeks the assistance of fellow detective Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver), an officer of Jewish descent to portray Stallworth in person. The case becomes more complex as Zimmerman gets deeper into the Klan and Stallworth strikes up a relationship with Patrice Dumas (Laura Harrier, Spider-man: Homecoming), a local civil rights activist who isn’t very fond of police officers given the history of police misconduct in the area. As Stallworth and Zimmerman discover a plot the KKK has planned, the two race against time to keep their cover and stop the plot before those close to them are hurt.
Washington and Driver are excellent together. Their partnership echoes of a real-life buddy-cop duo as their characters pull off a difficult and intense operation. Meanwhile, Harrier’s role as Dumas provides an alternative approach to that of Stalworth’s. One that seeks to stand up to the hatred that exists, but is untrusting of the very law enforcement that Stallworth is aligned with. The supporting cast of Grace as Duke and Ryan Eggold as the local KKK chapter’s president Walter Breachway provide the perfect amount of vitriol to their antagonistic, hateful characters. As usual, Lee’s directing is fast-paced and engaging. He makes the viewer become attached with these protagonists and fearing for them when the walls are closing in. The dialogue is filled with social commentary on today’s society using a time period that was just learning of the Civil Rights movement.
Throw in a quick homage to his previous hit Inside Man and a final two minutes of the film that presents the current state of bigotry in our nation (Charlottesville) and we have another Lee masterpiece. The film has earned six Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Lee’s first ever nomination for Best Director. BlacKkKlansman has plenty competition this year, but is definitely worthy of its nomination and worthy of your viewing attention.
This is BlacKkKlansman.