BlacKkKlansman [2018] ★★★½

I missed “BlacKkKlansman” on two occasions: first time in Montreal last summer and the second time was around a month ago when it was briefly released locally. So I might be coming late to it, but having heard all the good buzz (including the 6 Academy Award nominations), I expected nothing less than a good movie from director Spike Lee, who finally received his first Oscar nod. As it turns out, the film exceeded my expectations. In telling the story of Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), the African-American detective who infiltrated the Klu Klux Klan in the early 1970’s in an attempt to expose them, Lee fills his movie with humorous dialogue and colorful characters on the sideline (Adam Driver is superb in his Oscar nominated role, so is Topher Grace as the leader of the KKK). These qualities make his film hugely entertaining and thoroughly compelling. Lee isn’t afraid to go to extremes, much like his main character who would stop at nothing to expose the KKK. You never know what to expect, and that’s what makes “BlacKkKlansman” so striking. A shocking scene halfway through is followed by a burst of ironic dialogue. That’s the kind of film that Spike Lee has managed to cook up this time around, and it left me with much food for thought. I’m not usually a huge fan of his films, but he didn’t strike a false note here, and that, more than anything else,  makes “BlacKkKlansman” a must-see.

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