The Thunderbeat staff reviews “BlackkKlansman”

Being provocative is one of the only ways to inspire change. Being provocative through art is not only a good way to connect with an audience but also a great way to reach a larger audience. Spike Lee, Director of “BlackkKlansman” has always been at the forefront of creating thought provoking, uncomfortably arousing black film, and “BlackkKlansman” proves that ability in a modern age.

Set in Vietnam-era 1970’s, “BlackkKlansman” follows the first black police officer in Colorado Springs, Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) who stumbles upon a Ku Klux Klan advertisement in the local newspaper and gives them a call. He sends a white officer, Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver) to play the in-person part of his persona. As the pair dig deeper into the Klan, they gain the trust of Klan leaders, and are offered the chance to help them with a bigger threat.

One big critique of any political film is, “it was good, but too pushy with its message.” This is true of some, but “BlackkKlansman” feels over the top in a perfect way; it’s just enough to get the audience properly riled up, and both times I saw it I felt equally impacted by its message.

I’m reluctant to call the film really great but it’s hard to find much wrong with it. My biggest problem had to do with the music. Terence Blanchard’s main theme was played over and over again without much variation, and even if it was the greatest song of all time I don’t think it would change how annoying it was to hear in every scene.

At two hours and fifteen minutes, “BlackkKlansman” sits at an above average runtime, but with its even and engaging pace you’ll be wondering how you missed dinner by that much.

Everyone does really well in the film, particularly Washington and Driver. I also didn’t recognize Topher Grace playing a weirdly likable Klan Grand Wizard David Duke, with a mustache and an amount of racism I didn’t know was possible.

Spike Lee is known as one of the greats when it comes to racially driven, political movies, and “BlackkKlansman” holds up to this standard. While there isn’t too much special about the directorial style, it works well for the subject matter and theme.

For its heavy subject matter, the film works in quite a bit of comedy, and surprisingly, it works well. It serves as something to let the audience relax between the racial slurs and violence. It’s not excessive but it’s funnier than most comedies coming out these days and it never broke me out of the world Lee set up.

The story is an intriguing one, so if you’re at all interested in the plot summary, it only gets better from there. It’s hard to believe all of this took place in real life and it’s even harder to believe I’d never heard this story before.

“BlackkKlansman” is a highly entertaining and one of the best movies of the year due to its great characters, humor and message. If you’ve missed Spike Lee being in the spotlight the last few years this is a great modern representation of his style.