Movie Review: BlackkKlansman


Nellie Shih, Nevie Smith, Arts and Entertainment Editor, Contributor

Movie Review: BlackkKlansman

Nellie Shih ’19, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Nevie Smith ’19, Contributor


Spike Lee’s newest film, BlackkKlansman, is based on the true story of the first black detective in the Colorado Springs Department, Ron Stallworth. Bored by the monotonous work in the evidence room, Stallworth finds himself reading a newspaper when he notices an ad for the KKK. He calls the number, and poses as a white man in order to infiltrate the hate group. The film takes place in the 70s, during the time of the Black Panther Party and passionate student activist groups. The film stars John David Washington, Adam Driver, Laura Harrier and Topher Grace, and was produced by Spike Lee and Jordan Peele.

I (Nevie) personally loved the movie because it was about something that I didn’t really know about, and I feel like I learned a lot, not only about the KKK, but also about the struggle and racism African Americans faced during the 1970s. It was impressive how they were able to take something so poignant and turn it into something comedic that still was able to get its message across. I thought the acting was really good, especially that of the characters who were KKK members and advocates, such as David Duke (former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan), and Felix Kendrickson (KKK member). They showed some footage of last year’s Charlottesville riots at the end of the movie, which made me realize these kinds of things that happened forty years ago are still happening today, which is kind of scary. The filmmakers were able to use this movie as a platform to address the cultural issues of the past, and highlight the similarities our country still faces today. I hope most viewers were able to learn and take away from the movie as much as I did.

I (Nellie) also really enjoyed the movie. I thought it was well-directed and well-produced; everything was thought out and executed well, and very clever. The costumes and grainy on-screen effect enhanced the 70s feeling of the film, but more importantly, it was released on the one-year anniversary of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville. I thought the film was very timely, and it deserves the praise it has received since its premiere.

Still, criticism is unavoidable. Around the same time as the theatrical release of BlackkKlansman, Boots Riley’s film Sorry to Bother You was released. The film follows an African-American telemarketer in Oakland who adopts a white voice in order to excel at his job. Riley criticized BlackkKlansman’s depiction of a cop as the protagonist “in the fight against racist oppression,” despite the racism African-Americans face “from the police on a day-to-day basis.” Director Spike Lee responded by saying although his own films have been critical of the police, he’s “never going to say that all police are corrupt, that all police hate people of color.”


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