28 August 2018 | TheMovieDiorama
BlacKkKlansman doesn't hold back addressing the current political/racial climate.
Truth be told, I've not been looking forward to reviewing this. Much like Spike Lee, I have much to say regarding the apparent racial clash in America's modern-like society that feels more archaic than ever. However, I shall be discarding my political views from this review and strictly taking the time to critique Lee's boisterously powerful drama. Chronicling the true story of a black detective infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan to prevent any attacks that may result in a race war. An absolutely fascinating case that metaphorically represents a variety of multi-dimensional themes. A black individual joining an all-white clan, without them identifying him, shows that all races are able to integrate and reside peacefully in cohabitation. We are all law-abiding citizens. We are all integral components in society. We are all the same, regardless of skin colour. The KKK contrasts with former Black Panther Party members in the method they choose to rally up support. The former are likened to a terrorist organisation where actions speak louder than words, whereas the latter utilise the power of words to incite their followers, not to provoke them, but to motivate them in expressing themselves for a revolution. That's not a biased representation from Lee, it's fact. This is not a subtle depiction of a minority dealing with the remaining racists of society. This is a message. A message of power, liberation and revolution. The several screenwriters, including Lee, remove all expletive barriers. Nearly every offensive, racial and derogatory word is embedded within the sharp screenplay. It irrefutably has bite, and immediately absorbs you into the visceral environment of 70s America. Illustrating the racial ideology of white supremacism for both political and socioeconomic systems against a contemptuous backdrop. It's provocative, making your inner activism rise as the narrative progresses.
Fortunately, the script's focus is still on the plot, and it remains enthralling throughout. Balancing astute contemporary humour with uncompromising speeches where we cling onto every spoken word, witnessing Lee's illustrious perspective on black power through the medium of film. I'm not overtly familiar with his filmography, but there is no denying that his ability to address important issues without conforming to melodrama is nothing short of genius. His precise directing allows the cast to integrate themselves as part of the story. Washington portraying naivety through sarcastic wit and energetic bodily movements enabled him to be a likeable character amongst a sea of societal regression. But, yet again, Driver steals the screen. His acting is effortless and still remains one of the most credible actors working today. His comedic timing, calm demeanour and emotional conviction all amalgamate to create an authentic character portrayal. There is no denying that this is a timely film that is more important than ever given current situations, which are highlighted in the final five minute sequence. Yet, I do have some issues.
Regardless of my political and social views, I find injecting one's opinion into a film so forcibly, considering the basis of the film is the depiction of a true story, to be distasteful. Understandably, Lee utilises the case to compare the similarities of today's society with that of 70s America. But in doing so, the consistent sly remarks against the Trump administration tainted the tone of the film and instead started to become a personal attack. It is a personal statement, I get that. And Lee clearly wanted to share his viewpoint with the rest of the world. It just needed less lambaste in order to maintain the professionalism that was nested throughout the rest of the film. It didn't help that those particular scenes were embedded within the clunky narrative, furthering its own dispensability. However, the unique prowess of BlacKkKlansman should not go unnoticed. Both important and entertaining, Spike Lee is back on top form, and he has something to say.