BlacKkKlansman Review

God bless white america.

That’s the renowned greeting of the klu klux klan, so when Ron Stallworth finds himself on the phone with David Duke himself – the kkk’s grand wizard, whatever the hell that is – he does what any other true white american would do and signs off with ‘god bless white america’.

There’s just one problem… Ron Stallworth is black.

The first black police officer in the state of Colorado to be precise, where Stallworth’s working life is spent confronting the irrational beliefs of the racist cops in his very own precinct.

Apparently, that’s not enough of a challenge for our Ron though, who decides to infiltrate his local kkk chapter after finding a newspaper ad asking for new recruits.

What follows is the stranger than fiction tale of the first – and only – black klansman in the kkk’s history.

Based on a true story that defies belief, Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman charts the amazing rise of Ron Stallworth through the ranks of his local kkk chapter.

Of course, Stallworth the klansman is a hybrid character consisting of the real Ron Stallworth over the phone, and a white Jewish cop by the name of Flip Zimmerman in person.

The american two ronnies if you will, only these guys don’t have much interest in four candles.

They are interested in making us laugh though, and their are plenty to be had at the expense of the bona fide kkk members and their non-sensical beliefs.

I’m not sure many kkk members appreciate the irony of true, white american immigrants hating every other immigrants… but I’m guessing irony and self awareness are just two of the very many things that the kkk don’t get.

Unfortunately, such one dimensional caricatures do make it hard to believe that these people are real or even hate them – which is kind of a catch 22 situation.

The saddest part is we all know just how real these folk are, so I have sympathy with Lee – because if there’s a kkk aficionado out there who’s not a one-dimensional loon, I’ve yet to hear about them.

Adam Driver and Laura Harrier are good in supporting roles, while John David Washington holds everything together as Ron Stallworth himself, though I’ve no idea why he pronounces white with a q at the beginning.

Strangely, for a film whose story and themes couldn’t be any more relevant than they are today, BlacKkKlansman feels strangely disposable.

In fact, the interviews I’ve watched with Spike Lee about BlacKkKlansman are far more interesting than the film itself, as the director skewers the utter lunacy of modern america under Trump as well as the dangers of a resurgent right wing movement not just in america but the rest of the world that’s trying to hijack our politics, our democracies and even our way of life.

As amazing as the true story behind BlacKkKlansman is – and it is incredible – it simply doesn’t compare to the lying, corrupt, climate change denying, neo-nazi defending, white supremacist in the white house right now.

And just in case anyone’s in any doubt about this, Lee ends BlacKkKlansman by showing footage of american white supremacists rioting in Charlottesville last year, where Heather Heyer was murdered by neo-nazi James Alex Fields.

And what did agent orange do?

He defended the murdering cowards, because they’re his supporters.

So god bless white america, lord knows they need it right now.

Jonathan Campbell

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Dates ‘n stuff

August 2018