Movie Review: BlacKkKlansman

Pop cultural and historical provocateur Spike Lee’s brilliant 1970’s-set biopic BlacKkKlansman (A-) is an absorbing and gripping instant classic, the best non-documentary “joint” the filmmaker has made in nearly two decades. The film’s success rides largely on John David Washington and Adam Driver, who play real-life undercover cops who mastermind and manifest a fascinating infiltration of white supremacists. It’s one of those declassified untold stories like Argo that’s stranger than fiction and prescient in historical parallels to events of today. Washington is charismatic and determined in his performance as Ron Stallworth, the first African-American detective to serve in the Colorado Springs Police Department, determined to make a name for himself. Laura Harrier is sensational as a civil rights activist, and Topher Grace is amazing in a career trajectory redefining role as David Duke. The filmmaker is acutely aware of the power of cinema to change perceptions and dots the movie with bygone celluloid images and contemporary references that put his work in a march toward progress in representation. Aside from lensing a few moments that seem superfluous to the central themes, Lee has crafted a tight and taut thriller. He provides powerful point/counterpoint sequences weaving subversive themes and an unexpected premise into great storytelling.

I've reviewed films for more than 20 years. Current movie reviews of new theatrical releases and direct-to-video or streaming films are added weekly to the Silver Screen Capture movie news site. Many capsule critiques originally appeared in expanded form in my syndicated Lights Camera Reaction column.

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Posted in 2018, Rent It Tonight

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