Andre Nicolai’s review published on Letterboxd:
Spike Lee is an incredible filmmaker, I thoroughly enjoy most of his joints. None of them have grasped me like BlacKkKlansman has. Everything here just works from the marvelous script to the powerful acting. This was a truly compelling story that was both hard hitting and comedic.
The cast is excellent, everyone's performances were believable and strong. John David Washington is the star of this film and he knocks it out of the park. This is Denzel Washington's son and my goodness, he is excellent. Adam Driver was also great in this film, mostly everyone knows him as Kylo Ren, but if you look into his other performances, Driver has real star power. Adam Driver's work here only puts an exclamation point on how great he is. Laura Harrier also adds some great stuff into this film. Topher Grace as David Duke was a pleasant surprise, I love Topher Grace and his performance here was wonderful.
As much as this film is set in the past, it is about sending a message to the present. At parts BlacKkKlansman feels uncomfortable because the story takes place about fifty years ago, but some of the issues back then are still issues in today's world. I love how Spike Lee crafts this parallel. He crafts it without any subtlety. The ending of the film horrifically displays that, showing real footage of last year's Charlottesville march. The threat the KKK posed, and still pose now, is highly unsettling. Spike Lee masterfully captured the atmosphere of fear of those the KKK sets their sights on and lets us know why we should still be concerned by this. Seriously, this whole film could take place in present time and not feel out of place. It's scary to think about. Spike Lee makes many comparisons from the past and sheds them into the present. When David Duke speaks on his “America First” rhetoric and desire to “give America its greatness again” by placing someone in the White House who embodies the Klan spirit, we know the parallel Lee is making. It’s painfully obvious.
BlacKkKlansman works in every aspect possible. The writing is fantastic. Not one second did the story feel stale or dull, it manages to entertain and at the same time teach us a very honest lesson in history. The dark humor works, I found myself laughing and having a good time amidst this very unsettling story. I love the blend of comedy and suppressed rage, it made an entertaining cinematic experience. It is undeniably entertaining and important. Even the soundtrack for this film was great, Ron's theme easily got stuck in my head for some time and still is stuck in my head as I write this review.
The film is mesmerizing from the very beginning, which features scenes from Gone with the Wind and D.W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation, to the film’s final shot that pays tribute to Heather Heyer who died in Charlottesville fighting for her beliefs. I've never seen anything like this before. I genuinely walked away from this film in disbelief and in deep in my thoughts trying to find the right words to describe what I had just seen. Bravo to Spike Lee and every single person who worked on this film. This story is based on a true story, I took some time to read into the Ron Stallworth story and it was surreal.
BlacKkKlansman is probably my favorite film of 2018. The writing, directing, acting, and even the score, all excellently executed. This blew me away, I don't think I've ever seen a film like this, that made me feel like this. It's a very fun time, but at the same time it's brutally honest and unsettling. This was truly epic.