Spike Lee’s latest joint is a winner, helped by electric performances from Adam Driver and John David Washington. BlacKkKlansman excels at tone, shifting between humor and discomfort, jubilation and fear, and so much in between. In addition, Lee does a great job of allowing both Ron Stallworth and Flip Zimmerman to confront the group, one being black and the other being Jewish. Lee also takes time to know the Klan as well, and through conversation we are able to better understand what makes them tick. Topher Grace is terrific as David Duke, and him along with the cast help create the mood and environment that allow this movie to work. It also allows time to think about the best way to change something we do not like, whether that be from within or beyond. Lee understands the debate and makes sure that each side is given equal credence.
My biggest complaint is that at times it is so overtly political that it can take away from the thrill of its source material. While it is understandable that our current political moment does draw parallels, good stories stand on their own without the need of the political moment. While this story was fascinating, it became clear that this film was about our current president and predicament, and while in some cases that adds to the relevance of this story it also can take away from it as well. However, this is some of Spike Lee’s best work, it will certainly spark conversations and make you wonder how far we really have come. 8/10