BLACKKKLANSMAN – A Review by Hollywood Hernandez
Blackkklansman is not only Spike Lee's first film in several years, it's also his best film since the 1990's when he released a long list of thought-provoking films such as Malcolm X, Do The Right Thing, He Got Game, Crooklyn, and Mo' Better Blues. His latest films have been clichéd and stuck in the 90's but Blackkklansman ends that drought with a movie that is both thoughtful and entertaining. Perhaps it's producer Jordan Peele, who earned rave reviews for 2017's Get Out and Oscars for best writer and director, who guided Lee into making a highly charged political film without out being too heavy-handed or preachy.
The movie is set in the 1970's and it tells the true story of the first African American cop in Colorado. Rookie policeman Ron Stallworth infiltrates the KKK while working as a member of the Colorado Springs Police department. In one of the funniest scenes in the movie, Stallworth calls the main office of the KKK, posing as a white man, and asks for information about joining the secret organization. He ends up getting Grand Wizard David Duke on the phone and his portrayal as a bigoted white man is so convincing that he's invited to meet with the Klan. (Which obviously he cannot do.)
Adam Driver plays his partner, Flip. He goes undercover in Stallworth's place to meet with the local Klan. So, now Flip is in a life or death situation with his black partner coaching him on how to be white.
John David Washington captures the true spirit of 70's "Black Power" in his role as Stallworth. He's a "super fly", "super cool" soul brother who, while undercover, falls for the head of the student union, who is a "Black Militant" afro wearing sister who is about as "anti-police" as a woman can be. The head of the student union, Patrice Dumas, is played by African American actress Laura Harrier.
Blackkklansman is also a very politically charged film. It points out things like police brutality, racism and the racial profiling that still exist (and from Spike Lee's point of view) seems to have gotten worse over the years, not better. It's also an anti-Trump film that uses current news footage to show the similarity between the white leaders, like David Duke, from back in the day and people like U.S. President Donald Trump.
Spike Lee delivers a powerful film on a low budget (about $17 million) that takes a chance on reaching moviegoers with an unlikely, but true story. Blackkklansman is rated R for language, including plenty of racial slurs, directed towards African Americans and Jews. For the first time in a long time, Spike Lee deserves our support on a movie. On my "Hollywood Popcorn Scale" I rate this movie a LARGE.