Release date: Aug. 10, 2018
Based on: Black Klansman (2014 novel by Ron Stallworth)
Directed by: Spike Lee
Starring: John David Washington, Adam Driver, Laura Harrier, Topher Grace
Budget: $15 million
Box office: n/a
Colorado Springs’ first African-American police officer sets out to infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan.
While much has been said about the politics and message of BlacKkKlansman, a lot can also be said about the cinematic merits of the film itself. The story is interesting and captivating, following Stallworth joining the Colorado Springs Police Department and his efforts to investigate the Ku Klux Klan. At the same time, he’s trying to romance a college student active in the Black Power movement. What follows is an interesting plot that sees him attempting to navigate both worlds with him and his fellow officers maneuvering through a risky operation as he seeks to gain favor with a woman distrustful of the police.
There is quite a bit of tension felt during the film. Numerous times, it feels as if the officer who is physically representing Stallworth could be outed at any moment by certain members of the organization who trust no one but themselves. Further, one scene cuts back and forth between the Klan and Black Power meetings and the way the film presents it gives off the feeling of something bad being able to happen at any moment. Most of the film consists of this intensity, though there are times when they do break up to provide some brief moments of levity so the audience can catch their breath.
The actors also give great performances in this film, from Washington clearly having fun reacting to what the Klan members are telling him over the phone to the way many of the actors portraying its members play their characters, including Paul Walter Hauser who does well being the humorous and often clueless Ivanhoe and Jasper Pääkkönen who gives believability to Felix Kendrickson as a man totally dedicated to the cause. Additionally, Washington and Harrier have great chemistry with each other, easily seen when their two characters are just walking along, talking about movies and characters. Their conversations feel natural and real.
This is a fascinating film worthy of a recommendation.