BlacKkKlansman: Film Review

I had been wanting to see BlacKkKlansman ever since it won rave reviews at the Cannes Film Festival, and even though I had months of building anticipation, it lived up the hype. Spike Lee’s latest movie is based on an incredible true story that manages to be both hard-hitting and funny.

It is the 1970s, and John David Washington plays Ron Stallworth, the first black detective to be recruited into the Colorado Springs Police Department. He manages to strike up a connection with a member of the Ku Klux Klan over the phone and gets invited to meet them – so his white colleague Flip (Adam Driver) goes in his place. With their new set-up – Stallworth wooing them on the phone and Flip doing it in person – they manage to infiltrate the KKK and become the head of their local chapter.

This sounds like something that couldn’t possibly be true – but it is and Stallworth wrote a book about it. It is incredible and it was a good idea that Lee gave it the comedy treatment to acknowledge and send up how ridiculous the situation, and the KKK’s ideas, are. It would be too heavy to treat this seriously, because it deals with extremely sensitive topics and very radical, racist people so doing it as a straight-forward drama would have been pretty hardcore.

Despite its comedy value, BlacKkKlansman is still incredibly hard-hitting, as it makes you think about how far society has come, how far it has regressed in recent years, and how far we still have to go. Some of the comments the characters make in the 1970s are obviously a direct criticism of Trump, and it ends with footage of the recent Charlottesville white supremacy march, showing that things haven’t changed much since the ‘70s at all. It is very powerful in that regard.

I haven’t seen Washington, son of Denzel, in anything before and he was amazing. He was super cool. He was my favourite, along with Laura Harrier as black power activist Patrice and Corey Hawkins as speaker Kwame Ture, who makes his mark with a powerful, captivating speech. On the KKK side we have Topher Grace as Grand Wizard David Duke, their evil yet charismatic leader, Ryan Eggold (from 90210!) as chapter head Walter and Jasper Paakkonen as Felix, the most obvious villain of the piece. He really riled me up.

BlacKkKlansman sounds like it’s going to be a really serious, hard-going drama but it is very entertaining, digestible and funny. I laughed out loud at lot, at things that aren’t actually funny, but it’s told in a light way. It is absolutely genius. I highly recommend.

In cinemas Friday 24th August 

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