The true story of Ron Stallworth, a black cop who successfully
infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan with the help of a white surrogate officer.
Directed by Spike Lee
Written by Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz,
Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee
Starring John David Washington, Adam Driver, Laura Harrier, Topher Grace, Ryan Eggold, Jasper Pääkkönen,
Robert John Burke, Michael Buscemi, Paul Walter Hauser
Based on the book by Ron Stallworth
Recently, I learned that the Ku Klux Klan was actually destroyed by President Grant in the 1870's, and it was the 1915 D.W. Griffith film The Birth of a Nation that caused such a national fervor for racism that it revived the Klan and laid the foundation for the violent hate group they became. Spike Lee's latest joint, BlacKkKlansman, does touch on this interesting historical fact in one of its most poignant and disturbing scenes. The film is, I would argue, Lee's most powerful and engaging work, as it showcases an overlooked modern hero in Ron Stallworth as well as the unsettling parallels between the 1970's David Duke-era KKK and the current political climate established by Donald Trump and his supporters.
Ron Stallworth was the first black cop in the Colorado Springs police department, and in his first investigation, he went undercover in the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. Of course, for obvious reasons, there were problems with this so Stallworth used a white surrogate to pose as himself while he spoke with Klan members over the phone. It's a crazy, impossible scenario that worked because of pure human idiocy, especially where David Duke is concerned. John David Washington delivers a stellar performance as Stallworth, and Adam Driver proves his versatility as Flip, the white Ron Stallworth.
BlacKkKlansman is an important movie for the uneasy tension we are all feeling in the country right now. It points out the stupidity and arrogance behind hate groups like the Klan, as well as the importance of people banding together to fight hatred and injustice. It's the only way. Spike Lee has always used his films to shine a light on important societal problems, and with this one, he takes on the Trump political scene that refuses to condemn white supremacists and refers to African nations as s**tholes. Hatred is taught, people. Nobody is born with it.