Some may look at Spike Lee as a director who's beyond his prime, and hold on to masterpieces like “He Got Game” (1998) and “Do the Right Thing” (1989). However, give him respect, because Lee can still put together an intriguing, thrilling, and powerful film. Somuch sothathe created his newest filmusing afive-wordpitch fromJordanPeele, writer and director of “Get Out”, that read,“ blackman infiltrates Ku Klux Klan”.
BlaacKkKlansman takes place in 1979 in Colorado Springs and follows the true story of Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), as he becomes the first African American policeman in that region. It was in this position that he was strolling through the newspaper and got a crazy idea to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan. It was clear that Ron had his mind set on further contacting the hate group because he mistakenly used his real name when applying andportrayinghimself as awhite supremacist.So, with the help of a white officer Flip, (Adam Driver), he was able to present a white Ron Stallworth in public but still network as black Ron Stallworth over the phone.
I applaud Spike Lee for putting out a story that's relevant to today even though it's set in 1979. There are parallels between the past and present that make this movie Lee’s wake up call to Americans in our current political atmosphere. The movie is real and doesn't hold back on the harsh realities of the Klan, from a cross burning ceremony to a spiritual meeting with the Grand Wizard David Duke, (Topher Grace). It is complimented with a layer of humor that keeps you at ease enough to enjoy the message that is being conveyed. A hate group is a hate group and that was clearly displayed throughout this film. The film ended with footage of the acts of terrorism in Charlottesville, it left you with the gut-wrenching feeling that we're not as far away from the time of Klan activity as we thought.
Inside the movie theater I could feel the uneasiness of the audience I was surrounded by . This was an immediate sign to me that the movie is doing its justice and it was almost forcing us all to be aware of the discussion that needs to be had. There was a nice older couple besides me, two of them clearly had different reactions to what they're seeing. The man seemed to enjoy the climate of the film very well and even laughed at the political jabs that were thrown in; meanwhile his partner was visibly uncomfortable, it seemed as though she wasn't fully prepared for what she was walking into.
The movie takes clear jabs at President Trump, pointing to Trump being an enabler of terrorism by saying there were, "good people on both sides” after Charlottesville. The movie also highlights that David Duke, the former Grand Wizard of the Klan, is an outspoken supporter of Trump and believes that Trump aligns with his personal message and belief.
In the movie, Ron struggles as a black police officer not only because of the racism he receives from his white peers, but also his black friends and love interest, who are strong Black Power advocates. It raises an important discussion between all of them, and Ron pleads his case that police officers are necessary. This was smart for Lee to put in, because we still live in a society today where there is some taboo with black officers.
The word I can best pair with this movie is timely. As with a lot of his other movies, Lee always ensures that you will leave the theater thinking deeper than the actual plot line . BlacKkKlansman is worth the discussion, and is bound to age well as a movie that captures the political atmosphere of both the 70s and the Trump era.