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An African-American police officer from Colorado teams up with a white counterpart in an audacious double-act to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan. Writer-director Spike Lee picked up his first ever Oscar for his adapted screenplay based on a true story.
It’s the early 1970s, and Ron Stallworth (John David Washington, Love Beats Rhymes) is the first African-American detective to serve in the Colorado Springs Police Department. Determined to make a name for himself, Stallworth sets out to infiltrate and expose the local Ku Klux Klan. He soon recruits a more seasoned colleague, Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver), into the undercover investigation of a lifetime as the pair join forces to impersonate a new KKK member. Topher Grace co-stars as KKK Grand Wizard David Duke, on a mission to present a friendly, corporate face to the violent, racist organisation.
Best Adapted Screenplay, Academy Awards 2019
Crime, Drama, True Story & Biography
Rating: RP13 Violence, offensive language, sexual references & content that may disturb
In the time since Donald Trump was elected US President, a number of theories have emerged within the greater public consciousness to justify this turn of events: it was the Russians; it was Hillary’s emails; it was the weird US electoral system that no one really understands. Underlying each of these explanations, of course, is the myth: that no one could have seen this horrible situation coming. Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman is an indictment of this myth.
His film is the true story of the first black cop to join the Colorado Springs police force in the early 1970s, Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), who, with his colleague Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver) goes undercover to infiltrate the KKK. Quickly revealing both the open racism of the local community and the complete apathy and complicity of their superiors, the investigation also indicates that white supremacy is not waning - and, instead, steadily working its way into the mainstream.
Despite its period setting, BlacKkKlansman is spectacularly direct in connecting the dots between Stallworth’s story and the current American political situation. KKK Grand Wizard David Duke (played with chilling geniality by Topher Grace) even expresses a desire to Make America Great Again.
Lee’s lack of subtlety regarding these connections may be entertaining - many members of our predominantly white audience roared with laughter at these moments - but it is also brimming with impatience: the urgency to spell out what is really going on for those still under the illusion that Trump is an aberration and not a symptom of long brewing, purposefully neglected racial animus.
BlacKkKlansman may be the most accessible, and perhaps most entertaining, work of Lee’s latter day career but it is also his most important. An epilogue, in the form of news footage from the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville where counter-protester Heather Heyer was killed (an event which BlacKkKlansman’s release coincides with and commemorates), is a perfect, sobering conclusion to a truly scathing critique of a culture and a history that created the world we see today.
Herald Sun (Australia)
The Guardian (UK)
Los Angeles Times
Stuff.co.nz (Graeme Tuckett)
NZ Herald (Tom Augustine)
NewsHub (Kate Rodger)
Something Wasn't Right
It says a lot when the most engaging part of your movie is not your movie.
Get woke people.
Powerful, relevant and thought-provoking; with strong performances all-round and clever directing.
Scary scary scary in this current political world climate.
I very much enjoyed this film and I haven't seen a Spike Lee film in ages. Its funny and entertaining but the underneath its just terrifying. There is nothing that angers me so quickly as white supremacy bul***** honestly I don't understand it and I take great offense to the N word and i'm not black. but I knew this film was going to be difficult personally for me but its an important film with what is happening around the world right now, not just in America where its a powderkeg. Go see it...the performances from everyone is spot on and the end well , it needs to be talked about.
Not what I expected from Spike Lee
I wasn't sure what to expect after seeing the trailer and knowing Spike Lee's reportoire - I was surprised, it was funny but still the serious element. You could have heard a pin drop with the ending. Recommended.
Best film I have seen for a while
I don't remember being so tense throughout the entirety of a movie before - was super confronting and the ending was incredibly powerful. Very important film and worth any unease you might feel watching it.
Engaging and Thought Provoking
Had no expectations but was entertained and challenged by the movie. Some classic Black humour great moods of the times and characters, but terrifying to realise that thinking is still radiating. Good night out
Captivating as always.
Spike Lee presents to the audience an enthralling story of politics, taboo, and race. I sat inside the cinema, absorbed in the film, feeling the past reflected in the present. Lee ends this unbelievable film, with clips of modern politics. As Tame Impala said, "It feels like we're going backwards".
Funny. But not.
Not a great fan of Spike Lee but I do like a black comedy (no pun intended. Well, maybe, a little;). A good film, a very timely reminder of what black people in America faced and still face. Just when we thought we had left all that racist crap behind in the last century up pops up the detestable KKK supporting and supported by the POTUS. Good film. Recommended. Great hair too!
Best Movie of 2018 so far!
I expected to love this movie but I wasn't prepared for just how timely it was. The links to what's happening in America right now were incredibly powerful and hit the right note at every step. Not only is this movie fun and exciting it's also essential viewing for 2018 and I would encourage everyone to see it!