Malcolm X ★★★★★

Can you believe I hadn't seen Denzel Washington in anything? I can't wait to see him in a ton of trashy action flicks now that I know what he's capable of- he is, unsurprisingly, a force of nature here. Lee's direction remains as interesting as ever, if not even more formally gripping- it seems like every scene is an opportunity for some new stylistic quirk for him to throw in, and although the "wow" moments get less and less frequent as the film goes on, they're peppered in at a remarkable frequency throughout all 3 hours and 20 minutes. Which, for what it's worth, feels long... which is to say, it plays like a 2 hour 50 minute movie. It's immensely watchable and never less than totally enthralling, but despite the fact that it never feels quite as long as it really is... you'll know it ain't short. But that's fine when it's this good, and not a single frame feels wasted- the edit is incredibly tight. The often-claustrophobic sound design (the gunshots play especially well in a theater) and the fabulous score make this a remarkably well-rounded epic that, without question, is among the best biopics I've ever had the pleasure of seeing.

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