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Spike Lee’s latest endeavor delivers with a strong story line and timely humor while tackling issues of the past and present

Audiences are taken back to the 1970s as two cops get an inside look on the KKK

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Spike Lee’s latest endeavor delivers with a strong story line and timely humor while tackling issues of the past and present

Sarah Cloke, Guest Writer

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The 2018 film BlacKkKlansman, based on a true story, takes audiences back to early 1970s with Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), the first ever African-American police officer to join the Colorado Springs Police Department. We first watch Stallworth deal with racial slurs from his fellow police officers as he works in the records room of the department, before he asks to be moved to undercover work. After attending a local civil rights rally, Stallworth is assigned to the intelligence division, where the story really starts to pick up. He finds an advertisement in the daily newspaper to join none other than the Klu Klux Klan, and calls the number, impersonating a European American man who is interested in joining the Colorado Springs chapter of the Klan. Stallworth then recruits his fellow police officer, Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver), a white Jewish man, to act as if he were the man on the phone, in hopes to infiltrate the increasingly violent KKK. From there, the two work together to grow relationships with members of the chapter in order to learn about any upcoming attacks, and ultimately to sabotage those plans. The whole time, audiences are kept on their toes, not knowing if or when Stallworth and Zimmerman will be found out.

Overall, the film did a great job weaving its thematic content into its plot. One of the main themes in the film was the treatment of minorities by white people in the 1970’s and prior. The writers and director did a great job making sure the interactions between the two were raw and realistic; they were enough to make audiences uncomfortable, embarrassed, and want to jump into the scene and defend those who were being mistreated. Often times, it is easy for filmmakers to take heavier topics, like racism, and make their films too much of a political statement, which in turn disengages audiences. The way BlacKkKlansman integrates the societal issues while keeping viewers interested in the plot is something that not many are skilled at doing. This makes those watching engaged because the story line is interesting, the action is the right amount of intense, the humor is perfectly timed, and the real-life societal issues are only ever one step away.

The film overall was made up of what many people would want in any movie: enough exposition that you know what’s going on, a conflict simple enough that you can easily see what needs to be solved (but complex enough that you don’t really know how it will be solved), and characters that were well written and additionally, well casted. Something extra that BlacKkKlansman brought to the table that really only great movies bring is the effect it has on audiences after they leave the theater or head up to bed from their couch. Because of its strong themes and statements, this film will leave you feeling inspired to recognize the injustice you experienced in the movie, and wanting to prevent further mistreatment in your daily life. BlacKkKlansman reminds us that racism is real, civil rights are vital, and that films are at their best when they are able to make audiences actually feel something about what they watched long after the credits roll.

 

BlacKkKlansman: 8.5/10

2 Comments

2 Responses to “Spike Lee’s latest endeavor delivers with a strong story line and timely humor while tackling issues of the past and present”

  1. Mr. Parsons on December 20th, 2018 4:59 pm

    Excellent review. You must’ve had an amazing Film Studies teacher.

    JK about the teacher part. Honestly, this makes me want to see the movie even more than I did before. That last sentence is a very well-put statement about what makes movies so important and powerful.

    If you liked this movie, watch Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing. Excellent movie dealing with similar themes.

  2. Jamie Hedlun on January 20th, 2019 2:17 pm

    The ending of this film made me ugly cry. I recommend to anyone and everyone. Nice review! Thank you for sharing it with u.s

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Spike Lee’s latest endeavor delivers with a strong story line and timely humor while tackling issues of the past and present