Ringing laughs from racism

Image: supplied
Image: supplied
BLACKKKLANSMAN

Director: Spike Lee
Cast: John David Washington, Adam Driver, Laura Harrier, Topher Grace, Corey Hawkins, Harry Belafonte
Rating: (RP13)

★★★+ (out of five)

It feels like another age entirely since a Spike Lee joint last made it into cinemas here, but there’s no denying the sheer commercial appeal of BlacKkKlansman, a timely, angry, and extremely well made anti-racism polemic from this most natural, confident and accomplished of film-makers, a veritable summation of his career to date  that somehow doubles as a crowd-pleasing comedy for the multiplex set.

 

Taking place in the 1970s, it’s a semi-fictionalised retelling of the true story of Ron Stallworth (John David Washington, son of Denzel), the first African-American to serve in the Colorado Springs Police Department, who was able to infiltrate the highest levels of the Ku Klux Klan after coming across a newspaper advertisement recruiting new members for the local chapter.

While being somewhat hindered from meeting in person, he manages to establish over the phone, by way of a convincing, and rather hilarious, white man’s voice, a close relationship with several Klansmen, eventually ingratiating himself with Grand Wizard David Duke (Topher Grace), while  a reluctant white colleague carries out the far more dangerous groundwork.

Released to coincide with the  anniversary of the Charlottesville riots, the film interestingly also contains marked attacks on such racially problematic American cinematic landmarks as Gone with the Wind and The Birth of a Nation, the latter being particularly well deconstructed in a powerful sequence recounting a Texas lynching  that took place not long after a screening. 
 

BLACKKKLANSMAN

Director: Spike Lee
Cast: John David Washington, Adam Driver, Laura Harrier, Topher Grace, Corey Hawkins, Harry Belafonte
Rating: (RP13)
★★★+ (out of five)

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