James Cole Clay // Film Critic
BLACKkKLANSMAN opened in theaters 3 months ago and it’s still one of the five best films of the year. The pure visual bombast of Spike Lee’s most entertaining film in a decade is also his most socially relevant. The legendary filmmaker has made a piece of work for the people and it’s a film that cinephiles and general audience members alike can celebrate.
What makes this film so exciting aside from the timely message and sleek filmmaking by Spike Lee is watching John David Washington coming to his own as an actor. This is a career-making performance for Washington and it’s easy to see the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree from his father Denzel.
The film is now out on Blu-Ray and Digital for you to put on repeat, if nothing else but to watch the dance sequence of pop perfection set to “Too Late To Turn Back Now” by Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose.
From my review theatrical review of the film:
BLACKkKLANSMAN, is in the pantheon of his best narrative films, which include DO THE RIGHT THING, MALCOLM X and (some may disagree) HE GOT GAME. This true story of Colorado Springs detective Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), who infiltrates the Ku Klux Klan in 1978 using an over-the-phone “white voice” to gain access to their “secret” criminal underbelly. Stallworth is a sharp guy with ambition and an attitude to truly enact change within his world, yet he’s focused on doing his job to the best of his abilities. He partners with Jewish officer Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver) to be the face that enters the den of the KKK, while Stallworth chats on the phone with Grand Wizard David Duke (Topher Grace).
At the heart of the film is the struggle of a man attempting to assimilate vastly different groups while keeping true to his own identity. Yet, Stallworth operates with confidence even when the odds are stacked against him.
BLACKkKLANSMAN is one of the years best and will end up in the Oscar race this fall with the right push and word of mouth. But more importantly, the actual man, Ron Stallworth, is a courageous man who has paved the way for many women and men who came before him and his story is stranger than fiction.
It’s frustrating when a film is so ripe with things to say that the physical release is so bare bones. Things that could have boosted this releases appeal would have been: an audio commentary from Spike Lee, a look inside the world premiere press conference taking place at the Cannes Film Festival (if you can find it on YouTube, check out 1989’s DO THE RIGHT THING press conference from Cannes) and maybe an interview or two.
What we get are two measly little features that are from the production diary and an extended trailer that acts as essentially a musical montage. This is pretty disappointing. But who knows what goes into the reasoning behind discs with very little features, maybe there wasn’t a budget, or maybe Spike wasn’t interested. Either way, film fans are missing out on something special.