BlacKkKlansman ★★★½

I was blindsided and surprisingly upset by the final montage, even though I knew about it in advance. Why? One, amateur event footage edited by a skilled filmmaker is more artistic and impactful than on the raw YouTube stream or in the hands of similarly manipulative but less able newshounds. And manipulative is the right word here. Two, I was all chuffed at the film's self-contained narrative ending happily, but that illusion was shattered by the drawing of a direct line between the racism of the 70s and the racism of now: some of us have learned new ways of seeing but too many have not, and the marching and torchbearing and killing goes on. For a film that is confronting mostly in its matter-of-fact bigotry to end with actual murder left me jarred into despair. Like there's no end in sight, no matter the small victories. So I waver between admiration for the effect Lee produces and bitterness at the ease with which he plunged me into the depths. Either way, this right here is something.