There have been a lot of films set during the Vietnam War or explores its aftermath. It is not a noble war like WW2 in people’s minds, it was bloody, unnecessary, and it left shockwaves throughout American society, that we are still living through today. How do you capture a war like that, well some have done it through sceptical, some have done it through horror, and there was that one time was a flying elephant. Today I look at a film that has all of that, okay not the elephant part, while hitting the realities and legacy of the Vietnam War.
So to set the scene, we open in on a montage of Black America and their experiences in war, specifically Vietnam War or the American War as it is known in Vietnam. This is where we get a crash course on the War from start to finish through a lens we don’t always see. We jump to today in Ho Chi Minh City today where four old friends come together again in a country they once fought in, a place full of memories but also somewhere that has gone through a lot of changes. Paul (Delroy Lindo), Melvin (Isiah Whitlock Jr.), Otis (Clarke Peters) & Eddie (Norm Lewis) have come back to Vietnam for one reason, to find the body of one of their fallen comrades Stormin’ Norman (Chadwick Boseman). However, there may also be a whole lot of gold from the war on the line as well.
TL;DR – Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman is at times hilarious, at times deeply provoking, and at no time will it hold your hand as it explores the deep centred racism in America (spoiler: it is not just America)
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
I was not one hundred per cent sure what it was that I was getting myself into when I walked into to see BlacKkKlansman. I knew it was about a black police officer infiltrating the KKK and that it was based on a true story but that was about it. Spike Lee is a filmmaker whose work I am unfortunately not that familiar with, so was this going to be a comedy, was it going to play it straight, was it going to do both while being deeper for it? Well with that in mind let’s take a look at the race relations of the 1970s which in no way reflects on America of today … in no way …
So to set the scene, in 1972 Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) is hired as the first black police officer in Colorado Springs. While this is meant to be a step forward for race relations, Ron is hidden away in the records room taking abuse from his fellow police officers. That is until one day an important African-Amerian activist Kwame Ture (Corey Hawkins) comes to town and they need someone to go undercover at the speech and well every other member of the police force would stand out. It is here where he meets Patrice Dumas (Laura Harrier) one of the event organisers, and listens to the speech which focuses on promoting the cause of African people from white oppression, up to and including armed resistance. Happy with his success the police decide to move Ron into the intelligence division and on his first day he responds to an ad in the paper about a new KKK chapter starting up in the town. One slight problem, just a small thing really, but it kind of won’t work if they ever have a face to face meeting. So Ron enlists officer Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver), Ron is Ron on the phone, and Flip is Ron in person, and all of it flows from there.