REVIEW: Spike Lee throws dark humour and social commentary into a melting pot of irony for BlacKkKlansman
- Credit: Archant
Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman is a must see for 2018 that successfully weaves satire into the serious topic of fractious race relations and the Ku Klux Klan before delivering a gut wrenching punch in the closing scenes.
The film tells the true story of black rookie police officer, Ron Stallworth, who passes as a white supremacist to infiltrate the local KKK.
The plot throws politically incorrect lines around like candy with laugh out loud “wrongness” that pokes a huge finger of farce at racist America in the 1970s.
John David Washington plays Ron, a young black man in Colorado Springs who signs up to the police force, encouraged by a state-wide policy of “equal opportunity”.
After working in the filing room, Ron is moved to undercover work, and is tasked to spy on a Black Power meeting, where he meets and falls for activist Patrice, played by Laura Harrier.
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Using a talent for mimicking voices, Ron’s next assignment is to call the local KKK, pretending to be a white fascist.
Ron lets rip over the telephone, trashing “niggers” to the red neck chapter leader, relishing the ridiculousness of the task.
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The irony, the constant racist babble, the how on earth do you take a film about the KKK and manage to make it funny, creates on paper, what sounds like a movie misft, yet in reality this is a stark social commentary intertwined with clever humour and Lee’s trademark visionary stamp.
Throughout, Lee emphasizes that anti-Semitism, homophobia and misogyny are integral to the white supremacy culture.
The film begins with a clip from Gone With The Wind, a scene of hundreds of dead and wounded soldiers strewn across the grounds of a railroad station, a tattered Confederate flag still flying.
Its presence marks the still widespread nostalgia for Confederacy glory days of unquestioned white dominion.
Fast forward to the closing scenes. Have we learnt nothing?
Cinema Rating: 15
Running time: 135 minutes