BlacKkKlansman is directed by Spike Lee, a filmmaker who has often been known to release films that are relevant and always have something to say, this is no exception. You spend the majority of this film’s run time thinking that it’s very much isolated in events of the past, there’s some kind of reassurance that you can take from that. But in an absolutely genius move from Mr Lee we see the film suddenly shift to archived footage of America in the last year or so. It’s a hard pill to swallow, a bitter reminder that while things may have improved, racism and discrimination is still a major issue in some parts of the world.
The film is being marketed as a biographical comedy/drama, but I almost feel obliged to tell you that it’s a horror film. I mean there’s a point where things seem to be wrapping up and it’s all going pretty well for our black protagonist Ron Stallworth. However the sudden shift to footage of black people being mown down in the streets of America as recent as 2017 really hits you like a punch to the gut. I’d say it’s more terrifying than anything I’ve ever seen in a horror film, because it’s real. Sometimes it can be all too easy to forget, but you can’t escape the fact that this sickening mistreatment of others is still happening and something needs to be done about it.
I can’t really explain the way I felt leaving the cinema after seeing this, it was certainly a mixed bag of emotions. The message hits hard, I stuck around for the credits which is something I don’t always tend to do. But I wanted to sit there just a little longer almost as a sign of respect. When I did eventually get up to leave I also felt a wave of euphoria come over me because I realized that this is a film for the ages, the kind of film that will still have people talking about it in years to come. I’m so happy this film exists and I am unspeakably honoured to be alive at the time of its release, having the chance to be one of the first to see it on the big screen almost feels like history in the making.
So obviously I mentioned briefly the film’s protagonist – Ron Stallworth. Set in the 70’s, Ron ends up being the Colorado police department’s first ever black officer. Not content with working in the records room, Ron sets out on something of a crusade to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan all with the help of a white surrogate. Ron is played to perfection by John David Washington, Denzel Washington’s son! Don’t for a second think that he’s acting in his father’s shadow though because the performance that he gives in this really does hold up, and then some.
I implore each and every one of you to see BlacKkKlansman at the first chance you get and if you can manage to see it while it’s still being shown in cinemas, even better. I’m not going to give this film my perfect score as it did take a little while to pick up and get going, it’s the kind of film that probably could benefit from some trimming. However this is still one of the best films I’ve seen this year and well worth your time.