This is a hard movie to review. It’s based on a true story, yet plays INCREDIBLY fast and loose with historical accuracy, not just slightly either, the year the film takes place is changed by almost a decade. Entire characters are invented for the purpose of the film, and some people have been made out to be a lot worse than they actually are (one of the fellow cops is portrayed as massively racist when in real life he was at worst incompetent) which is kind of bad when you realise a lot of people from this are still alive. That seems kind of mean, but it doesn’t affect how much I enjoyed this film. Well, I say “enjoy”, I didn’t really enjoy this, but I did like it a lot. I mean, yeah the pacing was a bit weird. It’s also very long, but it has a lot to say. This film gets you to ask a lot of very important questions about race, politics, and Steve Buscemi having a brother.
For those unaware: this is about a black police officer going undercover at the KKK. Seriously, that’s it, and it’s based on a true story, which is just as brilliant as it sounds. There’s a great moment in this which I KNOW really happened as I remember reading about it years ago: when the guy asked the Grand Wizard of the KKK (no, that’s actually what the leader is called, stop laughing) how he knew he wasn’t black, the Great Boy-Witch replied that black men pronounce letters and words a certain way.
I highly recommend seeing this film, the script is great, and the acting is just as good. I think it’s fair to say that it won’t be too long before John David Washington eclipses his father’s fame. Adam Driver continues to be incredibly good, and Topher Grace does his best to make David Duke somewhat likeable, in a role which definitely messed with his head. It seems like everybody in this film is at their best, Spike Lee really knows how to get great performances out of people. The writing is also really good, it would be so easy to make the KKK cartoonish pricks, but the script makes them seem like actual people. There’s a moment in the film where a member of the klan is lovingly embracing his wife as they discuss killing black people. In a way it’s kind of sweet, here’s a couple who clearly love each other, talking about what they love. It’s just a shame that what they love is being awful, awful people.
The main cause for my non-enjoyment was the ending. It had a great ending; an ending which is funny, completes the narrative and not the story (big fan of this as it means you feel the characters as existing outside of the film), and to the point. It then goes on, and on. It then starts to show modern klan rallies, the alt-right, and Hitler Simpson himself, culminating in people talking about the death of Heather Heyer, the young woman who was run over by a white supremacist/terrorist dickbag at a rally last year. It’s an incredibly poignant and sweet ending to the film, but it’s also really depressing as it makes you realise that whilst the klan itself are a relic of the 70’s, the attitudes and opinions they had are stronger today than I can ever remember (and they are, before you had Nazi’s as villains the reaction would be “bit cliche”, now it’s “typical leftie cuck SJW bitch. Making nazi’s look bad”).
It shocks you. It cuts you to the bone. But more than anything; it inspires the hell out of you. This is not so much a film, this is a fucking rallying call, to all those who oppose the shit-heap that the world is in danger of becoming. This will light a fire underneath all decent people, and it’s REALLY fucking disappointing that it’s needed. But it’s the perfect way to end it, it makes you realise the real danger that people like that pose to civility.