When I first saw commercials for BlacKkKlansman I honestly didn’t know what to think about it. When I saw the names Spike Lee and Jordan Peele and knew I had to see this movie. Most of my Spike Lee movie watching was done in the late 80’s / early 90’s. I expected to get slammed over the head with the usual Spike Lee “MESSAGE!” and starting out it seemed to be heading in that direction however this was not a story made up by spike lee to tell people this is the true story of Ron Stallworth the first African -American on the Colorado Springs police force who was able to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan and stop numerous attacks by the hate group.
Spike doesn’t waste any time getting to the message / tone of the movie as we start with a clip from ‘Gone with the Wind’ as Alec Baldwin rants about the evils of a nation under attack from integration and miscegenation, becoming a mongrel nation being destroyed by the “Jewish puppets of the Supreme Court”. The clip changes to that of D.W. Griffith’s Silent film “Birth of a Nation” where actors (in blackface) were shown to be unintelligent and sexually aggressive towards white women, and the portrayal of the Ku Klux Klan as a heroic force.
Next scene we meet Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) as he joins the Colorado Springs PD. Of course, being the first Black man to join the police dept in this town he has to deal with racial situations from white officers who don’t want him there and treat him pretty badly. The first chance he gets Stallworth asks to be reassigned to a different department and soon gets his chance to work undercover and is sent into a Black Student union event where Black Panther ex-leader Stokely Carmichael (Straight Outta Compton‘s Corey Hawkins), now known as Kwame Ture, is speaking. This speech was one of the most powerful scenes I’ve seen in a movie, I found myself hanging on every word coming out of Corey Hawkins mouth.
After this assignment, Stallworth sees an ad in the paper trying to recruit people for the Ku Klux Klan. He calls the number and begins his journey into joining the KKK. As we all know a black man can’t just waltz into a Klan meeting saying he wants to join so he had to use a proxy and he found one in Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver “Star Wars”), a Jewish undercover cop in his dept, to do all face to face meetings with Klan members while Stallworth did all the phone conversations. The onscreen chemistry between these two was phenomenal. Another actor well worth his salt in the movie is Topher Grace (That 70’s show) who portrays the National Director (Grand Wizard) of the KKK, David Duke.
David DukeTopher grace
After seeing some photos of Duke from the 70’s it’s a bit unnerving how much Grace looks like him. Duke’s interaction with Stallworth is comedic at best. I mean we all understand what a garbage person David Duke is but when he’s on the phone with Stallworth, the conversations are downright hilarious. Lee ends the film with footage from the Charlottesville march showing David Duke and President Trump using the same White Nationalist talking points used by members of the Klan in the movies. The video clip of the car slamming into marches that resulted in the death of Heather Hayer along with other video accounts of people that were there kinda sent chills down my spine. Suddenly, we cut to black and the silence in the theater was deafening, the entire cinema just sat there in silence no one even daring to breathe, until the end music and credits started, and people started clapping.