Starring John David Washington, Adam Driver, Laura Harrier, Topher Grace, Jasper Pääkkönen, Corey Hawkins, Alec Baldwin, Ryan Eggold
Exuberant. Outrageous. Provocative.
Trailblazing within the Colorado Springs Police Department, black cop, Ron Stallworth (Washington), leads an undercover investigation into the local chapter of the Klu Klux Klan, with the help of his partner, Flip Zimmerman (Driver). Subtle? No. Nor is BlackKklansmen as deep or thoughtful as some of the real life figures it glorifies (there’s a stirring scene involving Kwame Ture early in the picture). However, Spike Lee hasn’t lost his ability to provoke, and hasn’t lost his trademark panache, and he’s working with a story people want to hear. He packs the film with footage from recent white lives matter rallies, Trump speeches, a clip from Gone With the Wind, and an erratic but humorous opening featuring Alec Baldwin flubbing through a eugenics video. Some of the extracurricular material works better than others, and Stallworth’s penultimate scenes feel too pat to be real, before concluding with a sobering cross-burning that should have been the end. What sticks is Stallworth’s story, both funny and incredible.
-Walter Tyrone Howard-