BlacKkKlansman ★★★★½

This is a film that is very relevant to today. Throughout the film there are allusions to the social and political turmoil of today. Lines such as "Why would America elect someone with the same morals as David Duke" are directly commentating on current events, and the filmmakers know this. It's relevancy to today is what struck me the most about this film, especially the final moments of the film.

Putting the politics of the film aside, BlacKkKlansman is a well crafted and well written story. It tackles the racial divide of the 1970's really well, providing for some great character moments.

The story follows Ron Stallworth, an African-American detective who poses as a white man to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan chapter. While undercover, Stallworth and his white stand in gain trust among the members, which leads to some unnerving discoveries. One thing that this film does exceptionally well is that it develops all of these characters so that they all have a certain depth to them. Even the supporting characters are well developed, having their own unique personalities and traits. There are also quite a bit of great character interactions, the dialogue flowing seamlessly with the performances. I have to admit that the pacing is a bit rough during the first act, but when this film finally gets going it is worth your attention. Also, for a film that deals with some touchy subjects, there are quite a few comedic bits. Now, an integral part of this film is its politics. Obviously the KKK are the bad guys and Stallworth and those against the Klan are portrayed as the good guys. Side note, fuck the KKK and Neo Nazis. This film condemns the behavior of white nationalists, as evidenced by the events in the film and the connections it makes to modern America. I feel that this is one of the most important films during this crazy political climate, and you should definitely see this to further expand your viewpoint. While not all of it is 100% historically accurate, it captures the accuracies of the racial tension at the time, and it scarily parallels 2018 America.

Aside from the story, I found the performances to be another highlight of this film. John David Washington is really great in this film as Ron Stallworth. This is the first film I have seen him in, and he really held his own here for his first starring role in a film. He brings a slyness and wit to the character, and he had great chemistry with the other actors. Adam Driver is also great as Flip Zimmerman, the white officer who stands in as Ron Stallworth. Driver and Washington both had great chemistry, and Driver had some great lighthearted moments as well. I also enjoyed Laura Harrier here, portraying a young activist named Patrice. She really shines during certain scenes, and her and Washington had great chemistry together. Topher Grace was also very good in this film, portraying David Duke. As horrible as the real David Duke is, Grace gives a hell of a performance here.

Another aspect of this film that has to be commended is the direction from Spike Lee. Lee not only directs these actors well, but he fully captures the atmosphere of the 1970's. Whether it be the environments or the groovy soundtrack, there are many elements of this film that just scream 70's. While I felt that some of the editing choices made were a bit awkward, and some tonal shifts could be a bit jarring, Lee does an overall great job at directing this film. This is my first of his films I have seen, and I can't wait to check out more.

Overall, BlacKkKlansman is a great film that tells the crazy story of Ron Stallworth, while also being a powerful commentary on our current political climate. This is a film that I would highly recommend not only for its well crafted filmmaking, but also if you hate Nazis...ya know...like any normal person would.

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