BlacKkKlansman Review (SPOILERS) | Teen Ink

BlacKkKlansman Review (SPOILERS)

March 28, 2019
By diegosantiago4113 BRONZE, Wyckoff, New Jersey
diegosantiago4113 BRONZE, Wyckoff, New Jersey
3 articles 0 photos 0 comments

I write this review one day after seeing this incredible film, still contemplating the message and emotions the movie left me with. The words that I write in this article may not be in any sorts relatable to what each person will feel after seeing it. This film no doubt keys in different responses from different people, and that is one of the very reasons I believe this movie is so powerful and influential on our society today.

BlacKkKlansman, directed by Spike Lee and starring John David Washington, at the time that I was going to watch it, had recently been nominated for six Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor, Best Original Music Score, and Best Film Editing. The film had released in theaters shortly prior to the film club at my school, Ramapo High School, making its choices for screenings for the year. One of my friends discussed with the club board that the movie was unbelievable and deserved a slot in our black history month screenings. I gave my full support for the film as it appeared to me as a fun and entertaining movie that could still maybe teach me a thing or two about the civil rights history, being it was a true story. Approaching the screening of the film I grew more excited as it continued to receive all of these esteemed nominations for Golden Globes, Critic’s Choice Awards, and Oscars, even going on to win some of them. Still, entering this movie yesterday, as eager as I was to watch it, I was not aware of the impression the film would leave on me.



The film picks up with a young Afro-American man, Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), eager to become a cop and make a difference in his community. His qualities are well liked by his superiors on the force and he is hired as the first “black” cop the police station has ever seen. After spending a short time in archives, Stallworth’s ambitions soon bring him to undercover investigations where he begins to pursue a new investigation, infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan. The plot of the film carries on with Stallworth making a persona for himself over the phone as a white racist man while his fellow officer, Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver), carries the alias when face to face with members of the KKK. Both Stallworth and Zimmerman face personal struggles while pursuing the investigation with Stallworth trying to maintain his relationship with a young woman who is a strong supporter of the Civil Rights movement, and Zimmerman constantly being questioned and insulted for his Jewish heritage which is suspected by one of the klansman throughout the film. As the film progresses,  multiple encounters, gaining the trust of superiors in the organization, and making a name for themselves in the organization, Stallworth and Zimmerman are able to discover one of the klansman’s big plans to bomb a Civil Rights march and neutralize both the primary and back up plan. The huge achievement made by the rookie Stallworth and his team is cut short when their chief notifies them that the investigation will be closed. Stallworth’s accomplishment at not only foiling one of the Klan’s plans, but also exposing them to their own vulnerability and ignorance, was a big step on Stallworth’s end at hurting the prejudice group, but the war for racism is long from over. The movie’s ending is really what ties this film together perfectly and leaves audiences with an overload of emotions and thoughts. The last scene begins with Spike Lee’s signature double dolly shot of Stallworth and his girlfriend approaching a window and seeing a cross burning in the distance, signifying that the reign of the KKK and their ideas are long from over. The scene then transitions into a series of clips including white supremacist marches, to neo-nazi marches, and other white pride marches that transformed into riots. Two speeches are then shown by President Trump on the incidents of these marches and from former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard, David Duke. The movie finally closes with a heart throbbing clip from the Unite the Right March in Charlottesville, Virginia where a car plowed through a crowd of peaceful protesters killing one and injuring others. The aftermath of the incident is shown through multiple disturbing clips and interviews taken by the victims. The film at last ends with a memorial for the woman that died due to the attack, and a photo of the American flag upside, its red white and blue colors fade into simply black and white.

The movie left all of the viewers of the film club in silence several seconds after the conclusion of the film. Whether it have been from shock, respect, or sadness, not one word was uttered once the credits began to role. The impact this movie could leave on an audience I believe is what made this movie so powerful. Watching the film, you observe Stallworth and his team work to damage the dignity of the Ku Klux Klan in an ultimate goal to possibly dismantle the organization. Nearing the end, you have a sense of hope seeing the accomplishments Stallworth has achieved and the predicament the KKK are left in, maybe the end to racism and the Ku Klux Klan is arriving. The hard reality, though, that Spike Lee illustrates perfectly, is that racism is not gone. The Ku Klux Klan still exists, “blacks” are still treated unjustly, and we still live in a world of hate because of the color of one’s skin. That is why the shot of the cross burning at the conclusion of the movie is so important, it shows that Stallworth has merely won a battle, not the war that still rages on represented by the series of clips from current events. Racism lies everywhere, and the final ending of the American flag turned upside solely black and white is a fulfilling conclusion, yet it aims to leave audiences unsatisfied. BlacKkKlansman does more than entertain audiences, it enlightens them. It uncovers the difficult yet true reality that we have lived and are still living.

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