Haiku Review: BlacKkKlansman

Written by Charlie Watchel and David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott and Spike Lee
Directed by Spike Lee


SYNOPSIS
In the early 1970s, the first black detective in Colorado Springs decides to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan.


HAIKU REVIEW

Powerful Balance;
Turbulent and Poetic;
Lee’s Best Work In Years.


RATING:
**Watch in Theater Immediately**
Pickup at Redbox Upon Release
Stream on Netflix/Watch on Cable
Don’t Waste Your Time


ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS:

It’s somewhat unfortunate that this was released in the same season as both Blindspotting and Sorry to Bother You, because it will draw comparisons to both (for different reasons) and possibly be overshadowed in the collective conciousness. Here we have a very good film, most likely to be seen as Lee’s best in probably two decades, but because it is more restrained than those two films, it may be overlooked (though I hope not and could be way off). But that restraint allows Lee to tell a straightforward, fact-based story that beautifully draws parallels between its time period and our own, and does so with fierce precision. Lee gives us a movie that strikes a remarkable balance between laugh-out-loud and quiet, somber reflection. He has a great cast that delivers in their roles, with Washington and Driver finding a great chemistry and Grace seeming like the only choice for a young David Duke, and there are some signature moves thrown in as well, including some impeccably-framed compositions. One in particular, a simple exposition shot of a meeting between the main character and an FBI agent sharing information, had me absolutely vexed. But, as is often a criticism against Lee, the film has its sloppy elements too. The opening and closing scenes bookend an otherwise straightforward narrative in jarring ways, with the closing in particular ensuring that you leave the theater feeling the weight of what you must saw. That is obviously the point (and perhaps my reaction reflects my own unsteadiness about facing how little we have moved in the right direction over the last 40 years), but it still felt heavy-handed and unnecessary, and the audience should be trusted to connect the dots that were plotted out carefully throughout the two plus hours. At the end of the day though, however you feel about race relations in America, Lee presents a glimmer of hopeful, peaceful optimism in his protagonist. If the phrase “rotten to the core” is true, then let’s work to get to that core and start fixing things from the inside. Can you dig?


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