Reader Rating (Rate Here): [Total: 1 Average: 3/5]
Directed By: Spike Lee
Cast: John David Washington, Adam Driver, Laura Harrier, Jasper Pääkkönen
BlacKkKlansman is a story of an African-American cop who infiltrates the Ku Klux Klan and moves up its ranks. Directed by Spike Lee, it is an unbelievable biography based on the memoir Black Klansman by Ron Stallworth. BlacKkKlansman begins with the thrilling story of Ron Stallworth but soon gets muddled in the message about racism and racial hatred.
In early 1970’s Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) joins the Colorado Police Department as its first ever black officer. Highly ambitious, he soon becomes a detective and is tasked to observe a civil rights activist Kwame Ture (Corey Hawkins). He befriends Patrice Dumas (Laura Harrier), a member of the black student union. While reading a newspaper he comes across an advert inviting people to join KKK. He makes a rookie mistake- uses his own name to enroll and thus, sets up a plan in which he is the voice and Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver) becomes the face of Ron Stallworth- the KKK recruit. The plan takes off and soon Ron is in conversation with David Duke (Topher Grace), Grand Wizard of KKK. How long both can keep up the act before their cover gets blown forms the rest of the plot.
BlacKkKlansman is based in 1970’s but it has shown how the issue of racism is relevant even today- KKK is still active and has linked the story with the current world events like Charlottesville white supremacy rally. Also, a clear distinction is made between what Black power and White power means for respective groups. Spike Lee has always been bold in his approach with his in- your-face messages even in his previous movies like Chi-Raq.
Message is important, but it feels overdone and the movie comes out as a crusade against the current government. The incredible story of Ron Stallworth has taken a backseat. BlacKkKlansman was marketed as an incredible story of a black cop infiltrating KKK. All the PR and even the trailer point to that only. The movie has two parts, one concerns with the rise of Stallworth in KKK and second highlights the message- but the second part halts the first. It’s such a shame that the message didn’t flow through the characters. The experiences of the characters and the shaping of their ideals because of the events surrounding them haven’t come out well.
The characters are underdeveloped, Ron and Patrice’s relationship hasn’t been explored much. We don’t know much about Flip apart from him being a Jew. He is the visible half and is equally important because of the risks due to the exposure. But I love the arc in which Flip changes from an experienced cop accepting the way things are to someone re-evaluating his circumstances. Adam Driver is a serious actor and like Logan Lucky, he again outshines the protagonist. I believe if his character was more detailed and developed, he would at least get a nomination for Oscar.
John David Washington is silky smooth as a cop oscillating between the white racists and the black activists. Denzel’s charisma has been passed on to his son. There are many cameos and all have their own importance in continuation of the story.
BlacKkKlansman is such a bold movie baring all the facts and is made at the right time given the political climate in America. Released on the one year anniversary Charlottesville white supremacy rally, it has caught the pulse of America. But, message aside, the movie did not achieve what it set out to be. No one would believe a black cop infiltrating KKK if it were a fiction. And, Spike Lee hasn’t done justification to the incredible and unbelievable story of Ron Stallworth. Watch it and share your rating above.
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