Ron Stallworth, an African-American police officer from Colorado, successfully managed to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan and became the head of the local chapter.
Director: Spike Lee
Writers: Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz
Starring: John David Washington, Adam Driver, Topher Grace, Alec Baldwin and Harry Belafonte
Run Time: 2h 15min
Genre: Biography, Comedy, Crime
5 Frames out of Five
By: Shari K. Green
Getting straight to the point, no credits or anything to distract from the message the filmmaker is presenting, ‘BlacKkKlansman’ starts with an old fake news clip. An actor, played by Alec Baldwin, tells his audience about how white American children have been forced to go to school with an inferior race, the black race, who are listening to Martin Luther ‘Coon,’ and have become super predators. I’m actually being nice in telling you what the despicable character and his distorted vision of reality says as he looks straight into the camera and into the racist soul of certain people in that period of time. However much the film may depict a particular year in the past (BlacKkKlansman is based in 70’s), it’s really showing you our present, especially at the end of the film… it’s shattering to see, on the big screen, who we are today.
Director Spike Lee gives us the racial issues going on in the Black Power movement by introducing us to strong activists trying to get the message of their struggle through to people while showing that they are no different than Black Lives Matter, a group born from the police brutality and racial discrimination of today. Juxtaposed to that is their KKK and white supremacists and today’s very vocal and bigoted alt-right. He does so this is a powerful way that’s emotionally disturbing and will have you thinking way beyond the theatre doors.
The film is set in Colorado Springs and is actually based a retired African-American police officer Ron Stallworth’s (played expertly by John David Washington), book which is hard to believe is true, though it all is. Stallworth, tired of being treated like a second-class citizen and participating in infiltrating the rallies of the Black Power Movement, he decides to turn the tables. With help from fellow officers, he dupes the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan, and eventually David Duke (Grace) himself, to become a card-carrying member of, the KKK. His skin tone would never allow him to get close to members of the Klan so Stallworth sets everything up via the phone and his partner, Flip (Driver), who has to deny to the members that he’s Jewish, meets with them. Though the film has plenty of comedic moments, here is where it gets really intense and shows what a master of the narrative Spike Lee is. This is the best piece of work he has put out since his earlier films and you won’t want to miss this on the big screen.
Throughout the film, images and verbal messages are used to get an incredibly important directive out to the audience. People are people, you are powerful and, chief among them, believe what you see. The alt-right and the KKK and white supremacists exist, they’re not something made up in a film or by a news channel, who is just trying to tell the American people the truth. Racism is a horrible thing yet more common than anyone wants to admit and ‘BlacKkKlansman’ has been made because the people that racism targets are tired of it. There is no superior race as characters in the film, in scene after scene, suggests and SAYS there is but there are a great many people out there who honestly believes there is. This film is fascinating and incredibly entertaining but also, it’s a reminder that what we have done in our past, can be… is being mirrored in our streets today. I can’t possibly express to you all the reasons why but as an American with an open mind, it’s crucial you don’t miss this eye-opening, impressive film.
Official Website: http://www.blackkklansman.com/