The Movie: 8/10
Based on a true story, don’t be too sucked in by that phrase, it usually means LOOSELY based on a true story. That’s the case with this movie. Sure, it started with an actual African American police officer calling the KKK to get information, and yes, another officer then infiltrated the organization for a time and got a membership card with the African American officer’s name on it. That’s about where the “truth” ends.
In Spike Lee’s version there is a bomb plot, characters that didn’t exist in real life, and of course more social commentary than the original people ever engaged in at the time. That’s all fine with me because it’s good.
The style of the movie is compelling, and as with Spike Lee’s movies, it’s pointed clearly in one direction. It’s meant to create a feeling and reaction to what we all KNOW is horrible, the history of and existence of racism. BlacKKKlansman shows us manifestations of racism in American through the early 20th century, the heart wrenching truth presented in a stylish way is still heart wrenching. Yes, it can feel like a history lesson, but I don’t mind. It is clearly caricaturing the KKK members as less than reasonable, some of them idiots, violent, cartoonish, and yet shows us, in that Hollywood way, how mundane and unobtrusive they are as to blend into society and our neighborhoods. If you have ANY dislike for Spike Lee and how he expresses himself through is movies, you might need to just chill out and watch it anyway. There is always another way to look at things, always another angle, always someone who has experienced something in life that you never will and to allow them to show you their perspective is always a good thing.
The performances are amazing, and at times I was taken aback by John David Washington and Adam Driver. The balance of anger and sadness, or fear and that underlying urge to just knock the shit out of the klan members, is a tribute to both men and their commitment to the characters they are playing. The supporting cast is just as good, throughout the entire movie I was drawn to each person as they came on the screen, from the police to the klanspeople.
Overall I was impressed with BlackKklansman, even knowing it was not a very honest portrayal of the “true” story it was based on. I understand, it’s a movie, entertainment, and needs to be written as such. I was glad to enjoy the movie, and then do some research on my own to learn more about the people involved. Any movie that does that, is worth watching:)
- A Spike Lee Joint (5 Minutes) –The real-life Ron Stallworth, Jordan Peele, Topher Grace, John David Washington, Laura Harrier and Harry Belafonte talk about working with Spike and the core story the film portrays.
- Extended Trailer (5 Minutes) –A musical trailer featuring Prince’s Mary Don’t You Weep.
- 4KUHD, Blu-ray & UV Digital Copy
Audio & Video: 9/10
Heavily stylized to match the era of the story BlacKkKlansman comes to 4KUHD and Blu-ray courtesy of Universal Home Entertainment. Using a 2.40:1 aspect ratio BlacKkKlansman shines from start to finish. Everything has a slight woody look similar to a Wes Anderson movie. Skin tones are precise and HDR is used to good effect across the board.
Audio is presented via a Dolby Atmos track that is very LOUD. I needed to turn it down a couple of notches it was so dynamic which is weird for this type of film. Dialog is very central and easy to understand, and the LFE channel comes alive when music is present. This is not an action packed movie so don’t expect gunshots and battle noises all around.
Overall Score 8/10