"BlacKKKlansman" by Yojimbo
Yojimbo - wrote on 09/24/19
A rookie undercover detective decides to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan on a whim, despite the fact that he is in fact, black.
Based upon the true story of Ron Stallworth who during the early 1970’s was the first black officer in Colorado Springs’ Police Department. The obvious irony of the KKK welcoming both a black and a Jewish undercover cop – bizarrely posing as the same person – into their fold is the basis of the story and although rather Donnie Brasco-esque in its plot, the approach is rather more lighthearted than you’d expect. There is plenty of humour to be had at the expense of these backwater bigots with the counterpoint of how American society accepted their often laughable views as mainstream; one of the most memorable scenes is the incredulity of their world-weary sergeant at the naivete of Ron’s belief that American could never elect a David Duke like figure as President of the United States. This is all a thinly-veiled comment on the current state of the country of course, and shows how these racist tropes peddled by the alt-right are nothing new to those on the front lines in the fight against racism. I personally thought that this was enough to get Spike Lee’s point across, but he chooses to give Trump both barrels in a Michael Moore like epilogue that is a full-frontal attack on the current President and his supporters. For me, this felt a little too close to propaganda and as such weakened the moral message of the film rather than strengthened it, but it does show the depth of feeling that the subject provokes in the director.
BlacKKKlansman is a well made, nicely played comic thriller with a message, although it perhaps lacks the intensity of the very best examples of undercover cop dramas.