BlacKkKlansman (2018) dir. Spike Lee
Spike Lee’s newest work comes in the right time – Trump’s new order. It is a rollercoaster of emotions, one of the most powerful films this year, also a broad satirical comedy.
John David Washington takes the lead as Ron Stallworth, real life based African American police officer, the first black detective on Colorado Springs Police Department. He proves his potential by infiltrating his colleague in the local Ku Klux Klan branch to destroy it from the inside.
The film starts with a direct speech from Alec Baldwin, playing white-power extremist. Then follows Ron’s job interview and so on but, in my opinion, the first truly great sequence is Kwame Ture’s speech. Off course it is moving, full of love and power, but what was exceptional – the audience members being shown with only their faces highlighted, beautifully centred and moving slowly like black angles in the dark. The screen - full with beautiful faces and moving emotions – with hopes, fascination and enchantment, making the speech into something dreamy. Cinematographer Chayse Irvin, who had previously worked with Beyoncé on her Lemonade, has done a marvellous job on his first big budget piece.
As the story goes on, it fills up with a lot of characters, showing it all – the beauty of Colorado’s scenery, racists, their ugly talks and plans, ladies with red mini cars and appealing afro hair. It doesn’t go slowly but it’s also not rushing anywhere. Lee targets the ugliness of the KKK very well, serious and funny scenes are being mixed with one another, the humour is easy but smart. It all seems captivating, with warm 70s filter, attractive central and diagonal compositions and strikingly powerful group shots, while playing with posters on screen all in a shifting tone.
In the final chapter of the film it all changes, brutality of the racists is shown stronger than before, it goes in a faster pace, emotions are shaking but everything steadies out and goes back to even bigger laughter. And unexpectedly the biggest trump comes out – the most powerful film ending I have seen this year. After the flag of the United States symbolically goes from colour to black and white, Spike puts out the realness of today’s America – videos of modern day race wars, Charlottesville montage - in front of us as saying “This is the problem! It is still here! 40 years later and what has changed? This is what we need to change. It is still happening.”
written by Kristians Fukss