BlacKkKlansman (2018)—that’s right! A film with this kind of title is bound to be original, and it sure is.
The paramount aspect is of course the acting with Denzel Washington’s son John David Washington playing the lead role of an undercover detective who tries to infiltrate the KKK’s branch in Colorado Springs. He proves that he got the acting chops from his legendary father. Adam Driver, Jasper Pääkkönen (who I found out later on was Finnish and I could not digest that after finishing the flick), Ryan Eggold, and Topher Grace gave the finest performances of their careers up till now.
This biopic features the most unbelievable truth is stranger than fiction narrative since the 2018 documentary series, Wild Wild Country. It opens brilliantly and pays homage to several anti-black media (The Birth of a Nation) as well as blaxpoitation franchises (such as Shaft).
Where BlacKkKlansman fails is in its pacing. There are certainly scenes which could have been edited better, although long-time Spike Lee editor Barry Alexander Brown, does an overall impressive job here. The cinematography by Chayse Irvin also manages to colorfully show us the racially infuriated period of 70s USA.
In conclusion, BlacKkKlansman is one of the most unique flicks of 2018. It won Lee and three other writers the Best Adapted Screenplay Award (for adapting the 2014 memoir by Ron Stallworth) at the 91st Academy Awards, and also earned Lee his first directorial nod. This is only the second Spike Lee film that I’ve watched, and my first outing was Malcolm X, and though BlacKkKlansman is not as brilliantly made as the former, it still manages to stand tall in its own right while effectively passing the torch of the charismatic African-American lead role to the younger Washington.