Updated: Oct 4, 2018
Directed by Spike Lee
Finally! A film with the KKK that does not feel washed out, unrealistic, or just downright bland. Not saying that I want to see white hoodies all over the screen, but if you’re going to feature a historical group this barbarous, do it right! Presently, Spike Lee could not have chosen a better story to bring to life; and he does not disappoint. Especially, with that mean 70’s dance scene that will have any Motown fanatic dancing in their seat.
Set in the early 1970’s, Ron Stallworth (John David Washington – yes, Denzel Washington son) is the first African American detective to earn a job at the Police Department in Colorado. Eager to exceed expectations, Stallworth has a brilliant, yet deadly idea to infiltrate the infamously sadistic organization known as the Klu Klux Klan (KKK). To accompany his plan, comes the well-trained Flip Zimmerman- I can’t lie, it took me some time to take him seriously with that last name (Adam Driver); in where they work side by side, undercover to expose and take down the KKK. Based on a true story, Ron serves as the voice over calls and writings as Flip serves as the physical appearance of this mysterious interest. Together, they take on the mission to destroy the KKK in a film that is both thrilling and quite hilarious.
In like manner, I still can’t believe that this is a true story. In a time where racism continues to strive in not one, not two, but multiple areas of society; it is shocking to hear that a man of color successfully (not a spoiler) infiltrated and practically destroyed this racist group. Without a question, this notion sat with me throughout the whole film and slightly made my experience more genuine. Extremely authentic to the point that I can tie some of the crude remarks and jokes told by members of the KKK, to personal experiences. For the most part, the cast for delivered strong performances. However, some of these performances did get out of hand such as Connie Kendrickson (Ashlie Atkinson), who rumbustiously plays the KKK’s leader wife and gives the role more than I would have ever expected. From the nauseating sounds of her laugh to her disturbing obsession with black people, she is the chill factor in this film and I absolutely could not stand her. Specifically, during an extensive scene in which I like to call “a film within a film”; where I found myself squirming in my nicely leathered reclining chair (treat yourself ladies and gentlemen. Let the roach chairs go), because the moment was that disturbing. Moreover, as if the film’s premise were not enough, Spike adds a section to the last ten minutes of the film that left my theater in complete silence, as so was I; and it was perfect. Just know I love me some good controversy, and Spike manages to hit the nail every time. All things considered, this film is packed with great performances, an astonishing story, and relatable material that brutally questions society morals today.
Spike Lee. You have a classic.
Film Rating: 4.5/5