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I watched BlacKkKlansman this Tuesday and walked out onto the carpets of the cinema foyer feeling tears prickling in my eyes. It was a dramatic change from the tone that had been felt throughout the cinema for most of the film, the audience laughing away at some of the hilarious lines that were delivered in Spike Lee's comedic yet powerful depiction of the ongoing struggle black Americans face.
Based on the real-life story of Ron Stallworth, a black cop who goes undercover to befriend a member of the Ku Klux Klan, BlacKkKlansman takes its viewer on a rollercoaster of emotions. You will find yourself clutching your sides with laughter, as I found myself doing on many occasions (Ron Stallworth pretending to be white over the phone when speaking with a member of the Klan was responsible for booms of laughter erupting across the cinema audience).
The journey of BlacKkKlansman is also not one that is subtle, as Spike Lee is not afraid to draw comparisons between David Duke, founder of the Knights of The Ku Klux Klan, and Donald Trump—if you go to see this movie, take careful note of some of the quotes from David Duke’s character, as they may sound slightly familiar.
In regards to cinematography and editing, producer Jordan Peele's talented eye (Get Out) and Lee's unconventional style add an unforgettable quality to this film, and I definitely felt the impact of scenes such as the speech given at the Black Student Union; shots of the gazing, hopeful faces of those in the crowd fade in and out over the top of the former Black Panther member giving the speech, creating an impression of his influence on the union members and also showing how Ron Stallworth's expression is in agreement with theirs by the end. A variety of camera angles are also experimented with to add authenticity and interweave the feel of a 70s Blaxploitation movie—the soundtrack does a good job of this too.
I found myself wincing at some of the lines delivered by the members of the Ku Klux Klan, but not because their delivery was in anyway poor—oh no—it’s because the disgustingly racist lines delivered by these characters are done so in a way that is so terrifyingly realistic and uncensored that I felt physically sick knowing there are people in this world that believe such ignorance. And that, my friends, is sign of excellent, gritty script-writing and directing.
Overall, after watching this film I believe Spike Lee has now completely mastered the ability to both humour and shock his audience, and with this film he has tied together the strings that have been made loose between black America in the 70s and black America today—they are not as different as we would like them to be, especially with Donald Trump as president, and this is proven at the very end of the film when the story switches back to modern day and unforgettable footage is shown of the events of the Unite the Right rally that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017. After watching BlacKkKlansman, you will be left feeling angry, but also wowed at Spike Lee’s creative talent and passion for exposing the truth.