Produced by Jason Blum, Spike Lee,
Jordan Peele, A Raymond Mansfield,
Sean McKittrick, Shaun Redick
Screenplay by Spike Lee, David Rabinowitz,
Charlie Wachtel, Kevin Willmott
Based on the book Black Klansman
by Ron Stallworth
Directed by Spike Lee
Starring John David Washington, Adam Driver,
Laura Harrier, Topher Grace, Corey Hawkins,
Jasper Pääkkönen, Paul Walter Hauser,
Ryan Eggold, Ashlie Atkinson, Robert John Burke,
Michael Buscemi, Isiah Whitlock Jr.,
Alec Baldwin, Harry Belafonte, Frederick Weller
Spike Lee’s latest joint is based on some “fo’ real, fo’ real sh*t” about how a black police officer in 1970s Colorado managed to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan.
It’s also damn great.
Hilarious and subversive as the story itself, its very lightness and dexterity of tone deliver some gut punches that might not have hit so hard in a heavier film.
The tale of how the “white-sounding” cop Ron Stallworth (John David Washington, son of Lee’s favorite leading man, Denzel) became phone pals with Grand Wizard David Duke (Topher Grace) makes for one of Lee’s funniest films.
The scene where Ron first calls a number from a local KKK recruitment ad and goes off on an impassioned rant against blacks and Jews to impress the local recruiter — in full earshot of his astounded fellow cops — is gold.
As a rookie cop who’s lucked onto the sting of a lifetime, Washington proves himself just as solid a leading man as his dad. And Adam Driver as Flip Zimmerman, the white cop who ends up playing “Ron Stallworth” for the local KKK, is terrific as he improvs his way through Racism 101.
Lee lets the elaborate joke of Ron’s infiltration of the KKK unfold in step with Ron’s having to dodge racism in his own department — and the “Jewish but not religious about it” Flip realizing that hanging out with Jew-haters is taking a toll he didn’t expect.
While we’re busy laughing at Duke and the Klan’s being so easily fooled, Lee is slowly reminding us of the horror behind the humor.
He gets the audience to laugh about the craziness of it all — and then he lowers the boom.
It’s the rare film that’s as hilarious as it is sobering. And it’s one of the few films I’ve seen this year that I can’t wait to see again.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5