Thanks to Universal Pictures Australia, we got to see BlacKkKlansman before its Australian cinematic release. This is our review of the movie, but as usual, no matter what we say, we still recommend you to go and see it at your local cinema because there is no better critic than yourself!

Spike Lee‘s BlacKkKlansman tells the remarkable true story of Ron Stallworth, a black Colorado police officer who infiltrates the Ku Klux Klan. In the process, he uncovers active military officers in their ranks and plots for terrorist attacks.

Stallworth (played by John David Washington) is Colorado Springs’ first black police officer. He brushes up against some of his fellow cops, but eventually proves his mettle and gets assignments to do undercover work. Starting with infiltration of an event hosted by Kwami Ture, he is then rapidly promoted to detective and begins his investigation of the Ku Klux Klan by calling them, posing as white. When he has to actually meet them, one of his partners, Phillip Zimmerman (Adam Driver), takes his place, and the games begin.

This is a highly entertaining movie, and an occasionally hilarious one. Sadly, Spike Lee just can’t keep his politics in his pants and puts glaringly obvious Trump quotes in the mouths of the one-note, imbecilic, inbred Klansmen, bookending the film with footage from the Charlottesville riots. This is less cautionary than it is cringeworthily over-obvious, especially when the Klansmen in question are so froth-mouthed insane and one-dimensionally stupid that their path to radicalisation is just relentlessly goading each other to fulminate about how much they hate minorities using a litany of vile slurs. This just reduces them to cartoon monsters, which undermines their impact. There’s a much more interesting film somewhere in here, with Stallworth’s few conversations with black radicals showing all the nuance his interactions with white radicals lack. This is not to say Klansmen have nuanced views or deserve a flattering portrayal, but perhaps genuinely knowing the enemy is the key to fighting them more effectively. Spike Lee is no Daryl Davis.

Worth a watch, despite its flaws. This story is too crazy to be anything less than compelling.

BlacKkKlansman – In cinemas August 16

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