Ron Stallworth, an African-American police officer from Colorado, successfully manages to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan with the help of a white surrogate, who eventually becomes head of the local branch.
‘BlacKkKlansman’ is one of those films based on a true story that is almost too unbelievable to be true. It centres on Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), the first African-American detective in the Colorado Springs department, who manages to infiltrate the KKK (I’m sure no description is necessary as to why this is improbable). The film is directed by Spike Lee and it’s comfortably his best film in years, taking this outlandish story and turning it into something that neatly alternates between funny and deeply frightening as Stallworth gets closer to the major players in the organisation.
If you’ve yet to see the film (and I’d highly recommend you do check it out), you’re probably wondering how a black man manages to infiltrate a racist organization that’s explicit purpose is to spread racial hatred against people like him. The real Stallworth handled all phone conversations with KKK members (including speaking to the ‘Grand Wizard’ David Duke on several occasions), whilst any face to face meets were taken by one of his colleagues, Philip Zimmerman (Adam Driver), a Jewish detective who is white enough to pass as the version of ‘Ron Stallworth’ that has been conjured up. This is Washington’s first leading cinematic rule and he’s a great lead, showing that talent does run in the family (his father is Denzel Washington) and Adam Driver is always a strong presence.
Lee is a provocative filmmaker and he doesn’t miss the opportunity to get barbs in about the current state of things in the US, drawing parallels with the past. The narrative does embellish the truth somewhat for dramatic effect but the crux of the story is true and it more than succeeds at telling this powerful story in a compelling, gripping fashion. ‘BlacKkKlansman’ is a superb movie from Spike Lee, hitting on timely themes in a film that manages to be both supremely entertaining and incredibly thought provoking, and it’s well worth a trip to the cinema.
Directed By: Spike Lee
Starring: John David Washington, Adam Driver, Topher Grace, Laura Harrier, Jasper Pääkkönen, Paul Walter Hauser, Ryan Eggold, Ashlie Atkinson, Corey Hawkins, Michael Buscemi, Ken Garito, Robert John Burke, Frederick Weller, Nicholas Turturro, Harry Belafonte, Alec Baldwin and Isiah Whitlock Jr.