The best Spike Lee movie since Inside Man, which came out over a decade ago. To say Spike is back is an understatement.
Remember the name Ron Stallworth. So this is based off some historical reference, making the story seem even more bizarre. Spike makes sure to mention this in the beginning moments of his newest film, because well, this whole story is kind of bat shit crazy.
It’s 1972 and the world is a different place, well actually it’s not that much different, as Spike comments on numerous times throughout the film. Stallworth (David John Washington) wants to be the first African-American police officer in Colorado. From the very get-go you get the sense that even the police themselves don’t know how to handle this situation and they are unsure of how to use Ron properly. He’s literally the first of his kind, there has never been an African-American police officer in his town. So when a Black Power activist holds a rally, they send Ron in undercover. There he meets Patrica (Laura Harrier) head of the black student union at the local university. Just like in Spider-Man Homecoming, Laura proves to be a great and up and coming actress. She is the one responsible for putting this rally together. We meet Kwame Ture played by Corey Hawkins, who comes is so hot. He’s pitching 100 miles per hour, he’s only in one scene, but it could have been one of my favourite scenes of the movie. He’s electric, and I just thought he did an unbelievable job for the little screen time he gets. Local police are worried about the black community protesting and causing trouble and they even believe there could be a civil war on the horizon. Ron suggests otherwise and that Kwame was just trying to get a rise out of the crowd and that they are harmless.
After a successful undercover job, Ron gets promoted to the intelligence unit. That’s where this story takes a weird but altogether incredible journey. There he meets Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver) his soon to be “white counterpart.” Ron feeling good about himself sees an ad in the local paper about joining the KKK. Inclined, he calls the phone number listed and talks to the director of the Colorado section Walter (Ryan Eggold). The two hit it off on the phone, so Ron obviously wants to peruse things further. That will prove to be difficult, because, well…..he’s black. So that’s where Flip comes into play. He goes undercover as Ron and together they infiltrate the KKK. Ron, as he describes is fluid in both “white man” and “jive” and that’s how he is able to talk to these white KKK members. Because as they love to mention, “they can always tell when they aren’t talking to a white man on the phone.” The back and forth on the phone is hysterical, and Washington has some tremendous comedic chops. This really is a star making performance by the man. Couldn’t be happier for him, he’s about to be on the rise.
Topher Grace pops up and plays David Duke, and it was really nice to see Topher back working on a great project. He delivers quite the performance here, and obviously a lot of his language used throughout the movie is just god awful. A few of the Klan members, sorry, “organization” members are interesting characters themselves. Some you just need to see for yourselves. I said organization because they didn’t want to go by the Klan I guess, and it’s funny to hear them correct people throughout the film about this little mistake. I bet making a movie like this can serve to be a little difficult. I mentioned the language, which a movie about the KKK, there is going to be extremely strong offensive language used by everyone. But I recently listened to a podcast with Washington, who said that on set, Spike is so great with the entire cast and crew and makes everyone feel comfortable and relaxed, that it makes the whole process that much easier. Those are the tall tale signs of a mature, veteran film-maker, and Spike happens to be all of that.
Spike is really on his game here, the film is shot beautifully, and there’s even a classic floating dolly sequence that Spike has become known for. This is a powerful movie. It feels powerful from the very opening moments of it. Yes there is a ton of comedic moments, but thats because the premise of it is so unbelievable. Spike wants to get a message across, and by the end of it, the message is pretty damn clear. Powerful message, powerful performances, and once the film is over, they bring it all back to present day America. This was the hardest hitting part of the movie, because this thing takes place in 1972, and in present day America, things don’t seem that much different. This should be nominated come awards season, well it better be. I’m ecstatic for everyone who was involved. Adam Driver once again proves he can do anything, Overall, one of 2018’s best films to date, with a strong message behind it, made by the right man. Again it’s a smaller film that scores big from me, not another sequel or generic summer blockbuster. Go see this movie! Support smaller movies!
Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – BlacKKKlansMan = 95/100