BLACKkKLANSMAN: Get Ready for Some Fo' Real Fo' Real Sh*t (Movie Review and Spoilers)
From visionary filmmaker, Spike Lee comes the incredible true story of an American Hero. It is the 1970s, and Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) is the first African-American Detective to serve in the Colorado Springs Police Department. Determined to make a name for himself, Stallworth bravely sets out on a dangerous mission: infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan. The young Detective soon recruits a more seasoned colleague, Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver), into the undercover investigation of a lifetime. Together, they team up to take down the Extremist Hate Group as the organization aims to sanitize its violent rhetoric to appeal to The Mainstream. Produced by the team behind The Academy Award-winning Get Out
In the mid-1970s, Ron Stallworth broke barriers as The First African-American detective serving on The Colorado Springs Police Department. A rising star with real potential, Stallworth distinguished himself as an exemplary detective in his first primary undercover assignment, attending a lecture delivered by Black Panther Party Leader Kwame Ture. Soon after, he stumbled across the newspaper ad that would forever change the trajectory of his life. In bold black and white was a recruitment message from the Ku Klux Klan, seeking new members. Through a series of daring encounters, Stallworth was invited into the inner circle of the self-described "Organization." He even cultivated a personal relationship with none other than the leader of The Hate Group, David Duke, who never suspected Stallworth's real identity or race.
Decades later, a retired Stallworth detailed his incredible experiences in the 2014 Memoir, Black Klansman, relating the jaw-dropping tale of how a Black cop came to be a card-carrying member of the KKK. Almost immediately, Hollywood began calling with offers to bring his book to the screen. However, Stallworth, wisely, was wary, unwilling to allow his life story to fall into the wrong hands. Then came QC Entertainment who acquired the rights to the book, and following a successful partnership on "Get Out" that Jordan Peele's Monkeypaw joined QC's Sean McKittrick and Ray Mansfield to produce the film. All immediately agreed, the singular voice of Spike Lee was the one to bring Stallworth's story to the screen. When Jason Blum's Blumhouse joined soon after, the reunited "Get Out" producing team was complete.
Over the course of a remarkable 30-plus year career, Academy Award-nominated filmmaker, Spike Lee has crafted an indelible body of work dating back to his 1986 indie breakthrough, She's Gotta Have It. With such films as Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X, Inside Man and the four-part documentary When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, Lee has proven himself time and time again to be one of America's most original and prolific Writer-Directors. He has built a singular reputation as a formidable, uncompromising creative force whose art is rooted in truth as well as a tireless, outspoken proponent for Social Justice.
The thing that both Lee and Peele did that we at THAheadline applaud most was connecting a story from the 70s to today. Although set in the 1970's, you knew as the viewer that BlacKkKlansman was not a period piece. They made the film contemporary so people could connect it to the crazy world we all live in today. It was almost scary how relevant Ron Stallworth's story was in regards to what is going on today in this country. The movie was so good that if this story were not true, you would never believe it.
The decision Spike Lee made in selecting who should star as Ron Stallworth was pure genius. John David Washington, the young actor and former football player whose most significant project to that point was the HBO television series "Ballers." Lee had given Washington his first film project — the actor made his debut at just six years of age alongside father Denzel Washington in Lee's landmark 1992 biopic Malcolm X.
John David Washington did a phenomenal job in playing such a role. He made the film enjoyable with his wittiness, just like his father.
Another thing that made this film such a mind-bending, great experience to watch on screen was the fact that Stallworth made himself available to all the actors, giving his full support to the project. He also made it a point to show the cast his KKK membership card, which he carries in his wallet to this day. Mind-blowing, right?
Is that not something? A Black Man was inducted into the Ku Klux Klan by David Duke. He was able to trick them! That should tell you more than enough about those idiots and how amazing a man Ron is. It was comical to see the exchanges between Stallworth and Duke on screen as they spoke on the phone. Although BlacKkKlansman is in no way a comedy, viewers can recognize that humor was needed to be woven into the fabric of the story to help relieve some of the incredible tension on screen. The comedic relief had Jordan Peele's "Get Out" touch, which was great. It made the film more entertaining as it highlighted the way Ron was able to infiltrate the Klan the way he did. That is where the humor comes from, from revealing the absurdity of it all.
To tie this all together, this film is not about the past. This film is for right now. The subject matter is timeless and releasing the movie while we are still fighting the same issues of racism and hatred was a smart move. It sparks conversation. It was a relief, a surprise, and a joy to know the men and women of all colors in that department were working with Ron to accomplish his goal. It just proved that if they were doing that in Colorado Springs in the mid-70s, then we can do it now, today. We need to work together.
"I feel like we're living at a time where pieces of this Country have lost touch with who The Good Guys and The Bad Guys are. Nazism, White Supremacy, the Klan, are The Bad Guys. They are Hate Groups. Also, we seem to be at a point where The President of the United States is calling out good people on both sides of what should be a clear polarity," said Jordan Peele. He added, "This movie, it is not only a crowd pleaser, but it is something that we can all go and experience that helps reset our moral compass when it comes to racism and white supremacy in this country."
Spike Lee said, "This film is an examination of the world we live in. This film is an examination where there is a cultural battle of Love versus Hate like the knuckle rings that Radio Raheem wore in Do the Right Thing, which came from the tattoos Robert Mitchum had on his fingers in Night of the Hunter. Love versus Hate. You cross your fingers and hope and pray that people connect with it when it opens nationwide August 10th."
BlacKkKlansamn will open in U.S. theaters August 10, a date chosen to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the White Nationalist Rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia that claimed the life of Counter-Protester Heather Heyer. Audiences surely will be entertained by Stallworth's inspirational life-story — but the film also might encourage some viewers to undertake the good fight.
Rotten Tomatoes Current Score: 96%
THAheadline Score (THAscore): 9.5/10
Check out the trailer below:
Check out the trailer below: