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BlacKkKlansman Review

BlacKkKlansman Review

Not many films have the balls that 'BlacKkKlansman' does. This 2018 American biographical crime film was co-written and directed by Spike Lee, which might explain it. Based on the autobiographical book 'Black Klansman' by Ron Stallworth, the film stars John David Washington (Denzel Washington's son) and Adam Driver ('Star Wars: The Force Awakens') as two police detectives attempting to infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan. Warning - spoilers below.

Produced by the team behind the Academy-Award winning 'Get Out', this film was set to be one to remember and so far the critics have been generously singing its praises. 'BlacKkKlansman' won both nominated awards at Cannes Film Festival and at the time of writing has 96% on Rotten Tomatoes.

The film itself is a relatively basic plotline which makes it predictable, but its subtlety is what helps the average viewer to navigate the world the film presents. Stallworth recruits his coworker, Flip, to pretend to be a white supremacist and infiltrate the KKK, while he talks to the secret organisation on the phone in his "white voice".

Although the plot is predictable and simplistic, so are the problems in our society. The timing of the film is everything; with the police brutality issues in America, the film, although set in the 70s, puts you in the position of the characters and accurately reflects the current political climate. 

One of the most important themes of the film is a personal conflict. Stallworth has within himself between pretending to be white and pretending to be black and wanting peace and equality for all parties while his love interest, activist Patrice, is campaigning for black rights only. This conflict is echoed through Flip as well, as he is also pretending to not be Jewish in order to succeed in his mission. 

When you come into the film, you aren't expecting it to be a comedy. And it isn't, not officially, but it is filled full of lighthearted humour and some adorable romance. You found yourself laughing in many scenes, even when the next shot would be something violent or extremely uncomfortable to watch. The contrast between these two types of filming means in a very dark plot, you are left feeling slightly offput as the film progresses, making two final scenes particularly intense. 

The cinema went quiet as these two particular scenes played. One scene had the Ku Klux Klan initiating Flip into their ranks. They all had donned white hoods and eerie music and lighting helped to portray the pure evil of what was happening. This scene was excruciating to watch.

The final scene, after the events of the film had taken place, was actual footage from the Charlottesville riots, played alongside Donald Trump's public speeches on what had happened. This is one of the few times violence is at the forefront of the movie, as it is very much a background thing that isn't talked about as much as it is laughed about by the characters, normalised as a way of life. 

The movies that are impactful to the culture of African Americans are few and far between, so for that this movie earns its place as one of the must-watches for striking racial commentary in the complex climate that is 2018. 

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