By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
is one of Spike Lee’s
most powerful and brilliant movies yet.
Lee directed and co-produced “BlacKkKlansman” with Jordan Peele (“Get Out”) and this film couldn’t be timelier.
“BlacKkKlansman” is based on a true story. It’s adapted by Lee, David Rabinowitz, Charlie Wachtel and Kevin Willmott from author Ron Stallworth’s book of the same name.
John David Washington, the son of Denzel Washington, stars as Ron Stallworth, the first African-American cop in 1979 to join the Colorado Springs, Colo. police department.
While that was big news, what Stallworth did during his tenure there was even bigger. Initially, Stallworth was assigned by police Chief Bridges (Robert John Burke, “We Only Know So Much” ) to do menial work in the records department. He endured all kind of insults from his co-workers.
So, when an opportunity came for Stallworth to go undercover at a Black Student Union college event to learn about former Black Panther leader Stokely Carmichael/Kwame Ture (a great, Corey Hawkins, “Straight Outta Compton”), he jumped at the chance.
While at the campus event, Stallworth strikes up a flirtatious conversation with BSU president Patrice, (a wonderful Laura Harrier, “Spiderman: Homecoming”). Now, if Patrice really knew he was a cop she wouldn’t give him the time of day.
Stallworth likes this new role. He gets even bolder and answers a recruitment ad for the Klan by calling them up, using his best “white voice” and convinces one of the reps that he hates blacks and Jews and really likes what their organization represents.
Well, when he’s asked to come down and meet with some members, Stallworth gets the bright idea to have his partner Flip Zimmerman (a superb Adam Driver, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”) go in his place.
Surprisingly, they’re able to pull off this crazy charade and go deep undercover with the Klan. They even get a meeting with a hatemonger named Felix (Jasper Pääkkönen, TV’s “Vikings”) and the KKK Imperial Wizard himself, David Duke (a stunning and terrific Topher Grace, TV’s “Get Shorty”).
What makes “BlacKkKlansman” work so well is Lee’s biting humor and his ability to weave images of the civil rights issues of the past with today’s racially charged and divisive landscape that features an even more revealing look at last year’s Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
And the cast, which also includes: Harry Belafonte, Alec Baldwin and Isiah Whitlock Jr. is sensational too.
“BlacKkKlansman” isn’t a lightweight, disposable film by any means. It proves too, that after all these years, Lee hasn’t missed a beat and still knows how to do the right thing when it comes to making hard-hitting dramas. This one is excellent.
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Check Out This Trailer For "BLACKKLANSMAN"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA), the Black Reel Awards Voting Academy and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.