What sets Lee apart is his brilliance at delineating complexity and conflicts even within groups, but his cross-cutting of two speeches at the end shows clearly the point at which one line of thought becomes not just different, but definitely evil. Contrast the joy of the dance at beginning to the petty obsessiveness of the Klan. Does it say anything new? The ending sadly tells us there is nothing new under the sun
Here's the thing, whether he likes it or not, Stallworth contributed to the legacy of the KKK, just like Lee's film is fundamentally a small segment of BIRTH OF A NATION's long history. Alec Baldwin is a boob, but when he says, "We won the war"... he was right! Boots' critique is that Spike makes cops heroes but I think BlacKkKlansman is trying to tell us heroism don't do shit to bend history's arc closer to justice.
This film had all the ingredients, a great story, great characters but fell flat. Lots of scenes didn't work, the dialogue was sloppy, the KKK characters were too laughable, they needed to have more dimension to be a believable threat. I could see what Spike Lee was trying to say but the execution of it was bad. I thought it would be slick, exciting and a social commentary that didn't hold back. It missed the mark.
Some fo' real, fo' real shit. Strikes a fine balance with its tone - mostly understated, with a couple more stylized sequences; mostly snappy, even some notes of dark comedy, but then your stomach sinks. At once one of the most fun, most satisfying and most painfully affecting films I've seen lately.
Blackkklansman is a very important, relevant and surprisingly entertaining 'joint'. However, we are encouraged to laugh at cartoonish racists in a 70s cop comedy for almost two hours before confronted with a powerful, upsetting reality. The tone is frustratingly confused. Surely anyone going to see a Spike Lee film already holds these politics.
At times, Lee falls into the trap of using the story merely as a springboard to discuss other events and issues (and not having much to say that's unique or insightful). But, he does know he has a fascinating story in his hands, and when he does focus on it, the film comes alive with emotional complexity, mail-biting suspense, and surprisingly effective humor. Washington and Driver also deserve praise.
Lee's newest joint is one of his best. Sharp humour, wit, and a great deal of knowledge come together in this brilliant take on America's shameful past. Aside, it subtly comments on current affairs and racial indoctrination in today's status quo. 85/100 - Excellent. (4.5)
Digital. Irony: who would say that in the contemporary North-American cinema would be precisely its 2 most irreducible iconoclasts that undermine the film industry, Lee and Tarantino, those who would come up with the most "classic" look on their society, playing with their paradigms and representations? This film composes, in parallelisms, some of the brighter moments of fictional film's structure of recent times.
The message is powerful and important, so go see it no matter what, but the movie itself is far from perfect, with a surprisingly blandness in the direction and lack of suspense that's quite surprising. But, really, the message itself is so important and relevant that it's impossible not to recommend it. Wish we'd had a better movie delivering it, though.