BlacKkKlansman: “Heavy” But Can It Win The Oscar?

So for those who’ve been following along, this is why I’m so fucking good. Instead of giving you timely reviews of movies when they come out, I procrastinate until the last second, allowing you to make your final judgments on what movies are good and what movies are trash when it actually matters—right before the Oscars.

A couple nights ago, I saw Green Book and left surprisingly satisfied. Earlier this year on my personal blog, I reviewed A Star Is Born, as well as Vice and Black Panther. Last night, I finally got around to watching BlacKkKlansman; however, before I get into things, I would just like to clarify I most likely won’t be getting around to watching Roma or The Favourite.

Although I tend to lean towards the snobby, narcissistic end of the spectrum when it comes to movie preferences (I actually really enjoyed The Shape of Water last year), I’m still a red-blooded degenerate. In other words, I’m capable of going into a Fast and Furious movie, turning my brain off for two hours and having a good time. In that same regard, I’m also capable of seeing an epically well-produced, cinematic masterpiece like The King’s Speech and thinking “Wow, that was boring as fuck.”

What I’m trying to say is that Roma and The Favourite will probably VACUUM awards this Sunday night but I just don’t have the time, nor the interest to see either of them. Bohemian Rhapsody, on the other hand, I plan to rent tonight because a large part of me knows I’ll absolutely despise it, which means tomorrow’s blog will ultimately be a must-read. I do my best work when I’m hating life, but I digress.

As I mentioned yesterday, I try my best not to wikipedia whatever story the move I’m about to watch is based upon so when it comes to BlacKkKlansman, I’ll just leave you with this: The movie follows the story of a Black police officer (John David Washington) who enlists the help of a Jewish surrogate (Adam Driver) to infiltrate/take down a local branch of the Ku Klux Klan.

Above all else, this movie is directed by Spike Lee, and unfortunately I’m not well versed in his work. Outside of He Got Game and those awesome Jordan Nike commercials from the 90s, I know Spike Lee primarily for his role on the sidelines of Knicks games. In fact, my favorite “Spike Lee Movie” is probably Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks where Reggie Miller grabs his junk in front of 21,000 at MSG.

With that said, I’m not too familiar with his directorial style, but I’m sure he implements a fair share of tropes to give his films a distinct feel, which I like. Some may disagree how Tarantino and Wes Anderson “force” their way into a movie, but I tend to enjoy when directors make their presence felt in a stylistically familiar way. With this film, there were certain elements of that, but as I said, I’m not familiar enough with Lee’s direction to go much further (I suck, I know).

As far as the performances go, I thought everything that needed to be great was. Similar to Green Book, movies that deal with issues like race rely more heavily on the script, as well as the chemistry between the cast. I’m not a gigantic fan of Adam Driver—I’ve never been able to wrap my arms around Star Wars like seemingly everyone else on the planet—but in the end, he turned in a convincing performance while John David Washington rightfully stole the show.

I’m not saying Washington is deserving of an Oscar nom, but there was just something about his performance in this role that was charming as fuck, and a lot of that dealt with his demeanor when addressing the film’s core subject matter: racism.

For those keeping score at home, this film’s pretty fucking heavy. Heading into the theater, I’m sure most of you could’ve probably guessed that; however, it’s adressed brilliantly. Unlike most people on social media, the issues of discrimination and societal hatred are adressed firmly, yet carefully. I couldn’t help but feel like I was being hammered over the head with Lee’s agenda, but in a soft, level-headed way.

What I mean by that is that Spike’s take on everything is pretty clear, but he also presents some duality. For example, both main characters face their internal struggles. For Washington’s character, it’s juggling what it means to support the Civil Rights movement, while still supporting the notion that he’s a cop, rather than a “pig.” For Driver, it’s juggling what his Jewish heritage means considering he’s never been a traditional, practicing Jew.

Long story short, I thought the pacing of the film, given its length, was fantastic. It’s basically two hours of fast-paced action, enough comedy to dilute the intensity of the subject matter, and performances that will leave you clawing for more from two of Hollywood’s rising stars. Not to mention, the music’s fucking awesome.

Final Rating: 8.9 Boats out of 10

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[…] Green Book: 9.3BlacKkKlansman: 8.9 […]