Summer Movie Review: BlacKkKlansmen
BlacKkKlansmen is the incredible (and mostly true) story of a black police officer (Ron Stallworth) in the 1960s who manages to infiltrate the KKK. It was a funny, surprising, and entertaining film with a strong political message. The film’s director even stated that he purposely released the film on the one year anniversary of the Charlottesville march.
With how ridiculous the story was, the first thing I did when researching this movie, was to see how much of it was actually true. If you were hoping to see a film accurately depicting one of the craziest moments in American history, then I’m sorry to disappoint you, but a good portion of BlacKkKlansmen was fictionalized (a couple characters were added, the climax never happened, and a couple other things I won’t go into in order to not spoil the movie too much). The basics of the movie are true. Ron Stallworth really was a black police officer who infiltrated the KKK by joining them over the phone and using his white partner (Flip Zimmerman, though that wasn’t his real name and he also wasn’t Jewish) to pretend to be him in person. Ron did speak to David Duke, (SPOILERS) he also really was assigned to be David Duke’s bodyguard during his visit to Colorado springs, and he did uncover terrorist plots by certain members of the KKK, though they never attempted to carry them out. Even though the movie wasn’t all that accurate, I still wasn’t disappointed. It was very well written and entertaining, and it would have been great even if it was entirely fictional.
I really have to talk about BlacKkKlansmen’s connection to Sorry To Bother You in its use of white voice. Similar to Cassius Green, Ron uses a white sounding voice over the phone (though, unlike in Sorry To Bother You, it’s not dubbed over and really is his voice). There is one particularly funny scene where Ron is on the phone with David Duke and asks him how he knows he’s not black. David Duke then explains that he can tell the difference between how white and black people talk and describes the way (he believes) a black person pronounces “are”. While this scene is funny for how idiotic it makes David Duke look, Ron really does use a different voice over the phone to make himself sound white. I talked a lot about this in my review of Sorry To Bother You and how there is a lot of social stigma over just the way a person talks, but I thought it was really interesting to see this in a film that was based of a true story.
There was also the overall message of the movie. I’ve said before in my reviews of RGB and Won’t You Be My Neighbor? that this blog is about movie reviews and not politics, however the movie had a strong political message and did not feel the need to be subtle about it. At one point in the film, Ron is talking with another cop who tells him about how David Duke has his eyes on political office and Ron says that there’s no way someone like him would get into the White House. Regardless of anyone’s political views, it was clear that the movie was hinting at our current president with this. The biggest thing, however, was at the very end when clips from Charlottesville and Donald Trump saying that there were very fine people in the march, were shown. While I really enjoyed this movie, and what it was trying to say about the current state of our country, I’m not entirely sure how I feel about how blatant it was.
Despite this, I still very much liked the movie. It was an incredible story that was very entertaining (even if not all of it was true) and had a message I appreciated.
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