Wednesday, October 3, 2018

BlacKkKlansman

Starring: John David Washington, Adam Driver, Topher Grace
Director: Spike Lee

Running Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes
Rating: R

Spike Lee is one of our most powerful, and depending on how you look at it, polarizing voices in Hollywood. Love him or hate him, he is a brilliant storyteller and puts the truth in your face, no matter how hard it is to watch. BlacKkKlansman is his latest masterpiece, and it couldn't be more timely. Several scenes and phrases were a direct correlation with what's happening in the world right now. His frightening tale of an African American cop who infiltrates the Ku Klux Klan is a both an entertaining and enlightening story, and while things have improved dramatically since the 1970s, events like last year in Charlottesville remind us that sadly, racism is alive and well in our country.

John David Washington (Denzel's son!) plays Ron Stallworth, a soft-spoken, intelligent, African American cop. He gets a lot of grief from the guys on the squad, but he's willing to take it for the job. An ad for the KKK catches his eye, and gives them a call, asking for more information. His "white sounding" voice over the phone fools the KKK leader into wanting to meet with him. Enter Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver, whose star continues to be on the rise) who agrees to play Ron for the meeting. This is the undercover operation of a lifetime, but these guys are pros - cool and calm.

Laura Harrier stars as Patrice, Ron's passionate black advocate love interest, who knows nothing about this undercover operation. When the KKK decides to take action against Patrice and her Black Civil Union student group, Ron's feelings get in the way of work, and things start to get ugly.

The language in this film is striking, and it was difficult to watch some scenes. Topher Grace played Grand Wizard David Duke with such ease, and it was absolutely terrifying to see him justify every cruel thought and action. The casting in this film was superb, and I have high expectations for John David Washington's next picture.

Lee closes his film with scenes from the mess in Charlottesville, just one year ago. It is utterly insane to see the progress our society has made in the past 50 years, and then to see so many people stuck in the past. I have chills as I write this post, and can only hope for a more positive and progressive next 50 years.

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