BlacKkKlansman

*****

Reviewed by: Richard Mowe

BlackkKlansman
"This emerges as a piece of bravura filmmaking that tackles huge themes with style and intelligence while providing a compelling narrative drive." | Photo: David Lee/Focus Features

Spike Lee returns to the Cannes Film Festival with a roller-coaster ride inspired by the case in the 1970s when a black detective managed to infiltrate the Klu Klux Klan with a white doppelganger Jewish colleague assigned to carry out the face to face confrontations.

The film is bang up to date in its portrayal of racism that continues to be rife in American society, frequently playing a highly critical anti-Trump card as well as a firing fusillades at those who seek to make America great again.

It carries historical references in its wake including some pertinent clips of such films as Gone With The Wind and The Birth Of A Nation as well as the recent heart-rending footage of the Charlottesville riots (the film’s US release date on 10 August coincides with the anniversary of the Charlottesville riots).

John David Washington (son of Denzel) gives an inventive and engaging performance as Ron Stallworth, the one black cop in the Colorado police force, who devises a cunning ruse to infiltrate the Organisation (as the Klan prefers to be known).

Ron does the set-up by telephone while his white partner Flip (Adam Driver on fine cool and collected form) is sent to meet them in person, with the potential for things going badly awry.

An added complication transpires when Ron hooks up with a Black Power campaigner (Laura Harrier) whose suspicions are aroused at his attendance at some of the student meetings as part of the undercover operation.

Topher Grace provides an egregiously tinged performance as the Klan’s Grand Dragon David Duke who was a real figure at the time and remains today a beacon of racism.

In his sixth outing in the Cannes selection, Lee proves to be in his element, with a film that is darkly humorous and deadly serious by turns.

This emerges as a piece of bravura filmmaking that tackles huge themes with style and intelligence while providing a compelling narrative drive.

It has shaken up the Competition and could be a serious contender for the ultimate accolade of the Palme d’Or.

Reviewed on: 14 May 2018
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Ron Stallworth, an African-American police officer from Colorado, successfully managed to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan and became the head of the local chapter.

Director: Spike Lee

Writer: Spike Lee, David Rabinowitz

Starring: Adam Driver, Topher Grace, Laura Harrier, Ryan Eggold, Paul Walter Hauser, Corey Hawkins

Year: 2018

Runtime: 128 minutes

Country: US


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