31 July 2018 | EnoVarma
One hell of a movie
Spike Lee has created an almost unimaginably uneven career in films, but it has never been in doubt, that he is one of the most talented American filmmakers of his generation. And should you have forgotten that, now you can remind yourself by watching the amazing "BlacKkKlansman", which won the Grand Prix at Cannes in May.
"BlacKkKlansman" tells the true story of a rookie African American police officer who in the 70's infiltrated in the KKK, but that's certainly not what the movie is about. Lee tackles head-on the contemporary hot topics of racism, the police killing black Americans, and white supremacy to create an overwhelming pamphlet about the American identity - which has been hurled into a state of great confusion after the last presidential election.
Movies don't come much more political as this one. In a way, "BlacKkKlansman" is a companion piece to "The Post" - a movie that similarly discussed the current political climate in a 70's setting - but with loads more of blackness, humour, anger and attitude. It's a better movie, too.
Though not perfect. Form-wise, "BlacKkKlansman" is sometimes paced oddly and feels needlessly long: not overlong, exactly, because you're not going to be bored for a minute. Visually it could have used a little more of the delicious textures typical of those 70's blacksploitations it makes references to.
But Lee is such a virile storyteller, that you can't help but get sucked in it all. And he has SO much to say. "BlacKkKlansman" is at its savage best when putting in perspective the official holier-than-thou image of the white Americans: Harry Belafonte cameos as an eye-witness of the beastly lynching of Jesse Washington in 1916.
Actors in "BlacKkKlansman" are great. John David Washington excels in the lead role. Adam Driver signs what is arguably his best role to date. Ryan Eggold is terrific as the local boss of the KKK, and the Finnish Jasper Pääkkönen impresses as his right hand man. The biggest surprise of all is Topher Grace, who is near-ingenious as David Duke, a well-mannered bag of sleaze in a three-piece.
"BlacKkKlansman" is an incredibly rich and stirring piece of contemporary cinema with enough stuff to fuel a conversation for hours. Or days. You can get a lot less with a price of a movie ticket these days.