America, the seventies, the town of Colorado Springs. A black guy named Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) gets a job with the police. This is the first black police officer in the city, and he was treated very wary at the station.
At first, Ron was sent to work in the archives. He certainly doesn’t like paperwork at all: Ron wants to go undercover in the narcotics bureau, but Stallworth’s boss Bridges (Robert John Burke) claims he’ll have to wear a uniform for at least a couple of years before he can get into that department. .
However, Ron was helped by a case. Black Panther leader Stokely Carmichael came to town. He has to give a speech at the Bells Nightingale Club, and Stallworth’s boss wants to send an undercover cop there to probe the situation and see if there are any general slogans or calls to immediately start an uprising against the whites.
But Bridges can’t send any of the narcotics guys into the club – they’re all white. And then he asks to work under the cover of Ron. After completing the assignment, he was taken to the drug bureau.
After a while, Stallworth found a short ad in the newspaper: “Ku Klux Klan, call so-and-so for contact.” He just made a phone call for fun, and there he gave his real name and office phone number. Literally a minute later, a certain Walter Brichuey (Ryan Eggold), the head of the Ku Klux Klan branch in their town, called him back.
Рон, старательно подделываясь под произношение белого реднека, уверил Уолтера в том, что он ненавидит этих подлых ниггеров и был бы счастлив присоединиться к клану. He managed to impress Walter, and he made an appointment.
Bridges, having been told that Ron has made contact with the Ku Klux Klan, asks Ron how he is going to meet with Walter. And Stallworth suggested sending one of those undercover cops, Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver), to the meeting.
The boss does not really like this idea, but it is quite important to understand what this clan is doing now and what they are going to do, so Flip goes to the meeting and further with the help of Ron, who eventually managed to establish telephone contact with Grand Master David Duke himself ( Topher Grace, leader of the entire Ku Klux Klan, infiltrates the organization.
Haven’t seen Spike Lee in a while, a long time. But he is a strong director: I well remember his “Jungle Fever”, “25th Hour”, “No Thief Caught”. Then he disappeared somewhere for a long time – he was engaged in serials and all sorts of projects that went straight to video. In 2013, Spike Lee appeared with an incomprehensibly filmed remake of Oldboy, which was so bad that with a budget of $30 million around the world (!) He collected $4 million, and it was clear that after that no one would entrust him with a serious project.
However, they trusted. In 2014, a book by former police officer Ron Stallworth, Black Klansman. The amazing story of a black detective who joined the Ku Klux Klan.” The book was very popular, and at some point Jordan Peele, a comedian, actor, creator of his own show Key and Peel, and director of the acclaimed film Get Out, which won last year’s Oscar for best scenario.
It was at the suggestion of Peel, who acted as a producer on this project, that Spike Lee was invited as a director.
It so happened that I watched this movie twice. The first time I watched it in dubbing (there was no other version), and I rather didn’t like the film: I really liked the acting, but there were various complaints about the production, and the ending, in my opinion, turned out to be some kind of Michael Moore.
Then I read the book (it is on Litres – apparently, it was released on the eve of the release of the film), on which the film was made, after which I watched this film again – this time in the original. And I already liked it.
As it turned out, the picture is really set quite close to the text. Spike Lee only made the undercover cop a Jew for the sake of being more cinematic (in the book he is an ordinary white-skinned American named Chuck, and there is no Jewish theme in connection with him at all), he also added a romantic story between Ron and an activist in the movement for the rights of blacks Patricia Dumas (Laura Harrier), who was not in the original.
And after reading the book, you begin to understand those episodes of the picture that, at the first viewing, cause a certain bewilderment and look like scenario sticks. For example, why did Ron give his real name and office phone when he first called the organization?
Yes, because the real Ron did not plan any undercover operation at that time, he just saw an ad in the newspaper and called there purely for fun. He thought that they would send him some kind of pamphlet or something like that, but as a result, everything got so twisted.
Well, then it turned out that other episodes that looked somewhat unreliable and seemed to be sucked out of your finger, for example, the joint viewing of the 1915 film “The Birth of a Nation” by the Ku Klux Klans, are from the book and there, according to Ron’s book, Chuck personally attended these events .
And the eerie footage from Charlottesville, where in August 2017 clashes between neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klans with members of the Black Lives Matter movement and anti-fascists occurred, when a twenty-year-old Nazi in a car crashed into a crowd of anti-fascists, resulting in the death of thirty-two-year-old Heather Heyer – so the book and ends with a story like this to confirm that neo-Nazism and the Ku Klux Klan have not gone away, and the manner of Islamist terrorists to drive a car into a crowd is now used by one American against another American. By the way, during those events at the rally of the “Union of the Right” there was the same Grand Master David Duke, who appears in the film under his real name.
Yes, and the parallel between David Duke and Donald Trump is drawn in the book, and I quote: “Duke continues to develop this idea, claiming that thousands of Klans gather at night to patrol country roads and borders along the border of San Ysidro, California, in order to prevent “illegal immigrants” from Mexico to enter the country. These sentiments and ideas are in tune with Donald Trump’s presidential campaign mantra of building “…a huge wall along the Mexican border to keep their rapists and drug dealers out.”
I thought that Spike Lee kicked Trump in the final for purely artistic purposes: well, you know, if you kick Trump properly, then you will have full recognition from the left-liberal public, and the Oscar is actually guaranteed.
Now about the main characters. Ron Stallworth was played by John David Washington, a former professional American football player, now a well-known actor and producer. John is the son of the wonderful actor Denzel Washington, and nature obviously did not rest on him: he, in my opinion, is a very good actor. By the way, John David has already starred with Spike Lee, and in the company of his father – in the film “Malcolm X”, where John played at the age of nine.
John gained wide popularity as an actor after the role of football player Ricky Jerret in the 2015 TV series “Football Players”, where Dwayne Johnson also played.
And now – “Black Klansman” (by the way, the original name of the picture is BlacKkKlansman, where the words black (black), klansman (klansman) and the abbreviation of the Ku Klux Klan organization are played up).
I really liked John in this role. Natural, charming, funny, and how he mimics the manner of speaking of the rednecks – it’s just lovely! It’s a pity that this is almost completely lost in dubbing, although we must pay tribute to the localizers: they are trying to somehow convey this by using all sorts of slang words and expressions.
I remember Adam Driver from the movie Logan’s Luck, where he had an interesting role. Adam is one of those actors who do not demonstrate vivid emotions, but nevertheless know how to create an interesting and charismatic image. He played the flip of Zimmerman perfectly, and there it was necessary to see how, in a conversation with the Ku-Klux-Klanovsk leader, Flip enthusiastically Kosterite of all sorts of nigers and Jews. This guy knows how to work undercover, I’ll tell you what!
Flip and Ron’s partner Jimmy was played by Steve’s brother Michael Buscemi. And when I saw Jimmy, I thought: what kind of Steve Buscemi in a small episodic role? And this is Buscemi, but not that one. By the way, I looked at Michael’s filmography, it turned out that I had seen him in many films, but he played very inconspicuous roles there.
About members of the Ku Klux Klan. In many reviews, I met claims to Spike Lee that, they say, his blacks are all so beautiful and spiritual (which is true), and the whites are all vile jerks through and through, and the only white woman (a friend of one of the important members of the clan) is very nasty fat lady.
So. Firstly, almost all whites in the police station, including both of Ron’s superiors, are quite normal and quite nice people. There is one such somewhat caricatured racist, well, in the end, the whole white world dealt with him.
And even among the members of the clan that Walter, that his right hand Felix (Jasper Pyakkonen) does not look like complete morons at all. Yes, their beliefs cannot be accepted, but they are not shown as cretins in any way. They have one silly fat Ivanhoe there, well, they have him as a note clown, especially since the guy is constantly drunk to the board. By the way, he was played by Paul Walter Houser, who played the similarly fat idiot Shaun Eckardt in Tone Against The World – I immediately remembered him.
About beautiful black people. I never argue with the fact that blacks can be very beautiful from the point of view of whites and that whites can be very beautiful from the point of view of blacks, but in one episode, Spike Lee clearly changed his sense of proportion here. When Black Panther leader Stokely Carmichael discusses in a meeting why whites think blacks are ugly, Spike Lee uses a rather banal trick: the camera snatches faces from the crowd, highlights them and shows them separately. The faces are mostly beautiful and spectacular people – well, like, look at us.
Okay, okay, no question. However, the director repeats this technique over and over again, and for ten to fifteen minutes, while Stokeley makes his incendiary speech, repeating the same Ku Klux Klan slogans, only turned one hundred and eighty degrees – “All power to the blacks”, “Black strength” and all that for all black against all white, Spike Lee repeats this technique over and over again, and, to be honest, it is immensely annoying. Just like Timur Bekmambetov, who, as he discovered the “slow-mo” technique, will endlessly shove it into all his films – this was very annoying.
The rest, in general, offset. Well, yes, in some places it’s too poster-like, well, yes, in some places they caught up with cinematography. But in general, following the book is maintained clearly, so I will not call this film any cranberry. And the book was very interesting to read.
It is highly desirable to watch this picture in the original (otherwise you lose a lot of things), but I won’t kick dubbing either: they really tried and did everything they could.
I would like to go over the critics who have not read the book and are talking nonsense about the film, but there are already complaints about Spike Lee: the audience is not required to read the book based on the film before watching the film. The task of the director is to make sure that there are no questions. Well, let’s be honest, if I hadn’t read the book, I would have carried the same nonsense from the “it couldn’t be” series in the review, like some other reviewers. But I have read the book. That’s why I’m cool, and the rest of the reviewers are fucking white losers. Here is my whole story.
Well, in conclusion, a few photos of the prototypes of this whole story, taken from the book.
Ron Stallworth in 1975
Stokely Carmichael, leader of the Black Panthers, during his speech.
Chuck is Ron’s avatar, along with Grand Master David Duke.
PS John David Washington – I would really like to see him in some movie. Because he is a really interesting actor. So is Adam Driver.
Black Klansman movie meaning
Director: Spike Lee
Alec Baldwin, Robert John Burke, Topher Grace, Adam Driver, John David Washington, Laura Harrier, Jasper Pääkkonen, Ryan Eggold, Nicholas Turturro, Corey Hawkins
Budget: $15 million,
Tragicomedy, USA, 2018, 135 min.