BlacKkKlansman

BlacKkKlansman ★★★★

I've seen a few Spike Lee "joints" at this stage, enough to talk about what kind of track record I have with his films. Generally, when Spike is good I think he's very good. When he's not good, his films can seem odd. Odd editing, odd music, poor dialogue, hacky situations and writing. I'm very happy to say that BlacKkKlansman is Spike Lee directing near his very best.

This is a film with tonnes and tonnes of energy, popping from the very start. Spike doesn't feel the need to overly develop his main character, in fact, I don't think we ever get any backstory on Ron Stallworth, and we don't need it. He's a black wannabe detective at the start of the movie and that's all we need to know. The same goes for the other characters. You don't need a character's life story to form an opinion on them. They are very much represented in this film by their actions, which is a very important point.

There's an incredible shot at the opening of the film of a snow white sky with the branches of a tree stretching out into it. The whole film summed up in a single shot.

While this moment is subtle, some people have said that the rest of the film is far too on the nose with its themes. I disagree. Lee walks a tonal tightrope throughout. He's not afraid to have a few jokes and funny moments. Lee knows that funny moments don't undercut the very serious themes of the film. Sure, the end does feel a small bit tacked on, but it's nevertheless powerful and timely. By showing these events, Lee tells us that the KKK was merely the tip of the iceberg and that racism still has a very long way to come in America. The final shot of a black and white American flag turned upside down is as powerful as it is scary.

A return to form for Lee in my eyes. His best since Do The Right Thing, although I really need to see Malcolm X.

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