Friday, September 21, 2018

What BlacKkKlansman Taught Me About The Irony of History

http://www.universalpictures.co.uk/micro/blackkklansman#
Every so often, I may switch things up on the blog a little, and I'd like to begin with this film review.

An Important Film
BlacKkKlansman, directed by Spike Lee and Jordan Peele, made its debut in cinemas across the UK, last month with much noise and media attention. If there ever is a time for everyone to be awakened to the effects of structural racism (in case you've been sleeping) now would be it, which is why this film is timely. So I went off to see what it was all about.


BlacKkKlansman, set in the 1970s tells the true story of Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) the first black recruit of the Colorado Springs Police Department, who goes on an undercover mission to expose and take down the Ku Klux Klan. To do this, he first needs to get in. Whilst impersonation might seem like a fair task over the phone, how will the 'fro and mahogany skin be concealed at KKK meetings? Ron thus brings his colleague Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver) on board to carry out the physical meetups. Together, the two infiltrate the hateful Klan in a bid to take it down and reverse its efforts to take its ideologies to the mainstream.

This is an important film. The heavy subject matter was delivered with some comedy which did elicit some laughter from the audience, but I'm not sure whether the jokes really hit the spot for me. Also, I found that endurance was needed for some of the scenes which for me overran slightly. For instance, a pro-black speech delivered by Kwame Ture (Corey Hawkins) went on a bit longer than I would have liked.

With that said, the film picks up the pace in the last 45 minutes or so, when a scene of a Klan initiation ceremony runs alongsidet hat of a Black Panther meeting and then moves onto some suspense filled and action packed scenes (don't want to give away too much!)


The Irony of History
What is ironic, is that as I sit here writing this post, a BBC documentary about the Ku Klux Klan is playing in the background. Yes in 2018, this organisation still exists. But irony aside, what I found chilling was BlacKkKlansman's several not so subtle references made to today's state of affairs. In a particular scene, Ron is having a conversation with a fellow cop about the mission of the Klan to slip their ideologies quietly beneath other policies such as tax reform and immigration to make them increasingly palatable to the American who does not consider himself a racist. The cop explains that this will continue until they eventually elect a man like David Duke (a known white supremacist and former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan) into the White House. Take from that what you will.

In terms of cinematography, the film's colours were muted to give it that 'old' feel. After all, its setting is in the seventies. The film closes to real life scenes from last years' protests in Charlottesville, Trump's speech in which he referred to white extremists as 'some very fine people', and a final tribute to Heather Heyer who lost her life as a result of the protests. By the time the credits began rolling, an eery silence had swept over the audience.

Would I recommend BlacKkKlansman? Most definitely. Even if it does make you feel a bit uncomfortable. Forgive its shortcomings, enjoy the good bits, and take home an important message!

Will you watch it? Have you seen it? What were your thoughts? Sound off below!


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10 comments

  1. What a great review!! Definitely going to watch this

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    1. Thanks Saabirah. Let me know what you think!

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  2. I saw this movie with my nephew and thought it was great and thought the comic touches added some relief to a serious subject. And oh yes indeed I picked up on the references to what is happening today. Very scary. The ending made me cry. Something about the over-all comic tone and then the punch to the gut with the ending which is some ways the most serious part of the movie. The audience clapped at the theater I was in, and well deserved.

    Allie of
    www.allienyc.com

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    1. Hi Alicia, it was a very thought provoking movie. We were rather moved to silence than applause. A lot of people enjoyed the comedy but for some reason it didn't really resonate with me. Good to hear your thoughts though!

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  3. Hello, it's your new friend (happy tables) I really enjoyed this review. Very well written and accurate. I have watched the film myself and couldnt agree more. There was certainly parts that could have been condensed down, but the story line was captured well. There was a tangable tension when we were leaving the cinema, this made me feel like the movie did what it needed too.

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    1. Hi Happy Tables! So glad to see your comment here. Yes, some of the scenes were long, but if it's to get the message accross then I'm happy to execrise some patience. It did leave a lastimg impression. The silence said it all!

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  4. Great review! Couldn’t have said it any better myself. There were a few scenes which were far too lengthy and added nothing to the movie! The fact that there is still a strong resemblence to today’s America is very sad. Well written, more reviews like this pleaseee

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    1. Thank you Nerys! I am so glad you agree with me. You are a very observant and intuitive young lady. I will definitely be writing more reviews like this.

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  5. Great review. Definitely a film to watch.

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    1. Hi Betty! Yes please let me know when you do watch it!

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