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Movie Review: BlacKkKlansman
Ruthie Spencer '22 Staff Writer
March 7, 2019

In conjunction with the celebration of Black History Month, Deerfield screened the movie BlacKkKlansman on Feb 8. Directed by world-renowned Spike Lee and starring several well-known actors, including John David Washington and Adam Driver, this powerhouse of a movie was released on Aug 10, 2018, and remains in theaters today.

With reviews of 95% on Rotten Tomatoes, 7.5/10 on IMDb, and 4/5 on Common Sense Media, this movie is a popular hit that contains a serious message. Critics describing it as a “must watch” and “thought-provoking.”

An illustration of Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) and Patricia Dumas (Laura Harrier), characters in the movie The BlackkKlansman.
Credit: Madeline Lee

The film tells the story of a black police officer in 1970s Colorado Springs, Colorado, named Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), who is new to the force. Ron teams up with a white Jewish officer, Filip Zimmerman (Adam Driver), to investigate a local Ku Klux Klan branch, which goes under the pseudonym “The Organization.” Ron talks with the administration of this “organization” over the phone, pretending to be a white supremacist; simultaneously, Filip, undercover, visits the members’ houses in person, pretending to be Ron. Filip is eventually welcomed into the KKK’s inner circle. The two men infiltrate and learn about the organization, whose main objective is to re-institute white-supremacy in America.

Spike Lee’s storytelling contains humor and humanity. The film’s synopsis from Focus Features states, “BlacKkKlansman offers an unflinching, true-life examination of race relations in 1970s America that is just as bracingly relevant in today’s tumultuous world.”

At the Deerfield viewing of the film, students could be seen watching intently, laughing, and grieving as the movie progressed. I enjoyed watching this movie; the plot twists and turns kept me interested and wondering. It was also cool to see the general reaction from the Deerfield populace who watched this movie.

The mood of the crowd shifted from what was happening in the movie, progressing from intrigued to surprised to grief to shock. It helped the movie create a more sound image in my mind because I was able to vibe off other people and feel what the watchers were feeling. It was a great experience.

BlacKkKlansman was released on the one-year anniversary of the white supremacist hate march in Charlottesville, Virginia. At the end of the movie, viewers were left with clips of this hateful event.

The videos from Charlottesville connected the movie to the present day, forcing me to think a lot about what our country values, and what I could do to stop another hate march from happening again. It both humbled and inspired me to enact change. It was a powerful ending to a powerful movie.

So, would I recommend BlacKkKlansman? Absolutely. BlacKkKlansman explores the subject of racial injustice with love and empathy and highlights the history of discrimination in America. You are guaranteed to be moved and informed.