“BlacKkKlansman” is another film to remind us that “Reconstruction” after the Civil War was never completed, and that our current President is pushing the other way and deconstructing any progress made in thwarting racism.
Director Spike Lee uses the storyboard foundation of a true tale. Ron Stallworth was a black cop in the 1970’s in Colorado Springs. Denzel Washington’s son John David Washington plays Ron, and he is easy to identify with as he joins with a white, Jewish policeman ( Adam Driver) to infiltrate the KKK.
The 1970 garb of safari jackets, the “air karate”, and the put-downs like, “You think you are hot shit, but you are a cold fart” are fringe worthy, period details. Ditto for “I can dig it.” Funny for some; embarrassing for others. The music like “Happy Days” , both ironic and loud, is used to drive emotional points; but, it can be overpowering. Subtle is not the tone used in this film. And why should it be!
I love the large portraits of black student union members being moved by Stokely Carmichael’s speech. The young need to know that Kwame Ture ( Carmichael’s name choice) was the philosopher who coined the term “black power”. This is black power that does not need white help.
Topher Grace plays a smarmy David Duke that hits the mark. He speaks of the “ real America” and “America First” in direct correlation to D. Trump. Felix and Connie are Duke followers and so full of hate that their “take America back” connotes lynchings.
The last two minutes of the film is tear producing as Lee shows real footage from current 2017 white supremacy activism. The screen frame of “Heather Hegel: Rest in Power” and the upside down flag are images that dampen any hyperbole that Spike Lee used to make viewers laugh earlier in the film.
This is a righteously angry film that I hope will get more than the African metal targets running to the polls.