Film – BlacKkKlansman

Film – BlacKkKlansman

The sight of the hooded KKK is one of the most frightening images that I have the misfortune to see. The fact that they can hurt or kill anyone they want without repercussion due to their anonymity behind their hoods is highly alarming and incredibly antiquated.

So I expected there to be a fair few watching-behind-my-fingers moments so I’m grateful that BlacKkKlansman is littered with humour. Not enough for me to relax into my comfortable seat as you couldn’t know when the next bad thing was going to spring from. If I were to catch it again on a plain, I’ll be laughing a bit more.

The (based on a true) story of a rookie cop, Ron Stallworth, the only black one, infiltrating a KKK chapter while pretending to be white should after all be hilarious AND deadly serious. This however is neatly in the middle, given the gravity and the downright peculiarity of the situation. Of course Stallworth couldn’t meet anyone, so he found a willing reluctant volunteer in Flip, a more experienced cop to pretend to be him for the face to face meetings. We don’t know Flip is Jewish until he’s already accepted the assignment as he’s not practising Jew but the more he meets the klansmen, the more he starts to think about his given religion.

Together they learn about key figures in the KKK, most of which are depicted here as completely irrational with the exception of the leader, who is portrayed as a non-violent, calm intelligent man with just the strong beliefs that blacks and whites should not be integrated.

I didn’t know police would allow a black cop – especially a rookie to do this kind of thing in the early 1970s (it’s straight out of Shaft territory) but I guess Colorado Springs was a little more liberal even then.

They made some major mistakes in the operation, like Ron Stallworth accidentally using his real name when he first impulsively made contact but then didn’t think to temporarily move out of his listed address as clan people closing checking his credentials for joining them may come knocking.

Alarmingly, rather than feeling dated, this film feels incredibly current.

7½/10

PS I don’t know why the trailer still shows the co-star rather than the black main star

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