By Drake Vittitow
Spike Lee is no stranger to making films based around race, and “BlacKkKlansman,” is his magnum opus of non-documentary titles concerning the topic.
The film was based on the memoir of Ron Stallworth, the first black police officer for the Colorado Springs Police Department.
Set in the 1970s, Stallworth soon infiltrates the ranks of the white supremacist group, the Ku Klux Klan, and becomes a member of the notorious regime. He phones the National Director of the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke, played by Topher Grace, and says that he is a white man that has an extreme hate towards anyone who does not have pure white blood flowing through their veins.
Topher Grace plays an exceptional role as David Duke to a degree where you are not sure whether you should laugh at his utter ridiculous views on immigrants or not. Looking to get into the political mainstream, Duke plans an electoral strategy based mainly on immigration.
Since Stallworth won’t be able to attend Klan rallies and meetings because of his color, he is partnered with Flip Zimmerman, played by Adam Driver, to take down a terrorist plot that the Klan eventually reveals to Stallworth.
As the movie progresses and Zimmerman gets in deeper with the Klan, Felix Kendrickson, another member of the Klan, starts to get suspicious of him. Zimmerman is a Jew, and Kendrickson makes it a point to push Zimmerman to the edge about how much the Klan hates Jews just as much as African-Americans.
That’s what is so brilliant about “BlacKkKlansman”. Not only does this movie bring to light the hatred that the Klan showed to African Americans, but it also showed the hate they had towards Jews, homosexuals, and anyone who was of foreign descent living in America.
There are many scenes in this movie that are very surreal to you. Everything from the burning of crosses to police brutality, the parallels made in this movie to real life are staggering and that is why it makes you think of the tattered past that America holds, and the future it is molding.
Stallworth is played by the talented John David Washington, son of Denzel Washington. Washington brings a sly, witty style to his character, and he can turn the crowd’s emotions on a dime. Many times during the movie, Washington can make a crowd laugh, only to be followed with instant silence.
Marred by only a couple of pacing issues, the movie lends itself nicely to the intensity and action of everything leading up to the end. The climax leaves little to imagination, and makes you feel ashamed that America has ever harbored any organization like the Ku Klux Klan.
“BlacKkKlansman,” is not just another run of the mill film about racial injustice. It is an in-depth case study of an issue that has been a hot button topic since the Civil War. The movie begins with a scene from 1940’s “Gone with the Wind,” and ends with raw footage of the Charlottesville riots that took place just a year ago.
Lee does a masterful job in mirroring the cast with real life people in today’s society. David Duke’s political views are very similar to Trumps for example, and you begin to see the shocking similarities between the two.
“BlacKkKlansman,” is a top notch film that every individual in America needs to see right now. With race as a hot button topic right now, Lee molds his film into a question that Americans need answers to. “With all the racial injustice that America has faced in the past, and is facing now, what will our future look like? Will we learn from our mistakes?”
Drake Vittitow is a sophomore majoring in communication. You may email him at Jefferson.Vittitow@sckans.edu.