We live in a repulsive, violent society, led by an orange-faced madman with an affinity for nazis, and Lee’s new film serves as a major “fuck you” to Trump and the people who helped bring him to power. Yet the best part of it is that this isn’t some consistently depressing, bleak commentary on the world we live in. This is a Spike Lee joint, and it’s every bit as wild, entertaining and shocking as you’d hope. Lee didn’t come to mess around, and the final product is a near-masterpiece.
It’s an outrageous true story that, despite its late 70s setting, proves unsettlingly relatable today. Ron’s story is a powerful one, masked with humour that lands more often that not, but woven together with serious social commentary in ways only Lee could. BlacKkKlansman’s tone manages to find the perfect balance of laughs and drama, with these characters put into situations that, in of themselves, naturally create an element of intrigue and quite often hilarity. The first black cop in Colorado sounds like a movie of its own, but having that cop also infiltrate the KKK? I’m sold.
There are a couple of pacing issues early into the second act, where screenwriters Charlie Wachtel & David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott & Spike Lee are forced to overcome the hurdle of introducing each of the Ku Klux Klan members. The scenes are often tense, with Lee’s hand firmly on the wheel, but things don’t really get kicked into gear until the introduction of Topher Grace’s David Duke, which happens a little later into the film than the trailers would imply. All the undercover stuff works great, but once Duke’s involved, it takes on a whole other level of brilliance, and Grace gives the performance of a lifetime.
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