Director: Spike Lee
Cast: John David Washington, Adam Driver, Laura Harrier
Release Date: November 6, 2018
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 7.5/10
Disc Rating: 7/10
From visionary filmmaker Spike Lee comes the incredible true story of an American hero. In the early 1970s, Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) becomes the first African-American detective in the Colorado Springs Police Department. Determined to make a difference, he bravely sets out on a dangerous mission: infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan. He recruits a seasoned colleague, Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver), into the undercover investigation. Together, they team up to take down the extremist organization aiming to garner mainstream appeal. Produced by the team behind the Academy Award®–winning Get Out, BlacKkKlansman offers an unflinching, true-life examination of race relations in 1970s America that is just as relevant in today’s tumultuous world.
Based on the amazing true story, ‘BlacKkKlansman’ follows newly hired and dedicated detective Ron Stallworth (Washington) in the 1970’s, the first African-American detective in the Colorado Springs Police Department whose talents and passion, along with a randomly placed call to a listed Ku Klux Klan advertisement in the paper leads to an undercover investigation like no other. Aided by his new, trusted partner Flip Zimmerman (Driver) and some capable others backing him up, Ron and his team set out to expose the Klan and the local grand wizard David Duke (Grace), becoming a member himself in the process and managing to go deeper and accomplish far more than anyone ever even fathomed possible.
Directed by Spike Lee (Malcolm X, Chi-Raq) from a screenplay he additionally co-wrote along with Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott, which was of course based upon the book by Ron Stallworth respectively, Lee does a great job at the helm of ‘BlackKklansman’ passionately guiding along this powerful true story with style and humor. The film also benefits tremendously from a solid cast that includes numerous talented individuals and includes John David Washington (TV’s Ballers), Adam Driver (Logan Lucky), Laura Harrier (Spider-Man: Homecoming), Corey Hawkins (Straight Outta Compton), Topher Grace (Predators), Isiah Whitlock Jr. (TV’s The Mist) and many more, nearly all delivering more than capable performances in each of their respective roles, with Washington in particular frequently tending to steal the show with his magnificent and highly likable portrayal of Ron Stallworth.
‘BlacKkKlansman’ is a powerful, smart and generally well-crafted piece of filmmaking that never necessarily goes out of its way to be funny, but nonetheless tends to consistently exude humor and garner plenty of laughs throughout its duration, often merely as a result of the content which can be somewhat outrageous in its own right, albeit true. The pacing falters at times, and occasionally its seeming need to drop lines or try to directly incorporate the story into modern day events can feel forced and unnecessary (one can easily see the similarities with many current events and elements without direct lines that mimic Trump speeches necessary to connect the dots). Altogether it definitely forms into a moving, unnerving and surprisingly enjoyable film that doesn’t pull any punches and frequently impresses in its approach. It’s smoothly guided along with style by filmmaker Spike Lee whose capable hand at the helm is only further complimented by an incredibly talented and perfectly selected cast that features the likes of John David Washington, Adam Driver, Laura Harrier and a number more. I would definitely encourage anyone already even moderately interested in this one to try and give ‘Blackkklansman’ a whirl at some point whenever possible. Diehard Spike Lee fans in particular will definitely want to be sure they don’t miss out on this one if they haven’t already had the pleasure.
Overall, ‘BlacKkKlansman’ is at times uplifting, often tense and unnerving, while also frequently hilarious in its own right, without ever going out of its way to be and never detracting from the unpleasant nature and importance of the content and true events that it tackles. ‘Blackkklansman’ is definitely recommended, especially for fans of the talented individuals in front of and behind the camera. It’s a generally well done, impressively acted and consistently enthralling true story that is likely worth at least a couple hours of your time and probably the price of a rental as well for those who already have it on their radar, as well as fans of Spike Lee’s work in general who probably won’t want to even think about missing out on this one.
The Blu-ray release of ‘BlacKkKlansman’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks fantastic as a whole and provides a sharp, detailed and colorful presentation throughout, with no notable faults to be discovered along the way. It holds up with ease even during the darkly lit and fast moving moments, never resulting in anything occurring on screen becoming rendered indiscernible, or even negatively affected. Overall, this is a great high definition video presentation that looks consistently clean and smooth at every turn and shouldn’t have any trouble pleasing fans of the film and first time viewers alike.
The Blu-ray release features a Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel compatible) soundtrack. Please note that this review pertains solely to the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio presentation. This multichannel soundtrack delivers a clean, crisp and fairly active audio presentation throughout. It consistently takes advantage of all seven available channels in order to send everything from cars and bullets occasionally whipping past to music, crowd chatter and more making its way throughout the various speakers with regularity, and never conflicting with any dialogue or other audio elements that might happen to be occurring simultaneously. Overall, this is another solid Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible) soundtrack that makes a splendid compliment to the film and shouldn’t disappoint in any way.
The Blu-ray release of ‘BlacKkKlansman’ doesn’t include much in the way of supplements, although it does include a couple brief extras. Included on the release is one Behind the Scenes Featurette ‘A Spike Lee Joint’ (running approximately 5 minutes in length) which features some behind the scenes footage and interviews/comments with the cast, crew and more, in addition to a ‘Blackkklansman Extended Trailer featuring Prince’s “Mary Don’t You Weep”’ (running approximately 4 minutes).