Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) is the first black officer at the Colorado Springs Police Department. Eager to prove himself, but treated poorly by several other officers, he's finally given an opportunity to go undercover. Wanting to take it a step further, he infiltrates the local KKK chapter using fellow officer Phillip Zimmerman (Adam Driver) to go as his "white" self while he speaks to to them over the phone.
Director Spike Lee is never subtle, nor gentle with his opinions and BlackKlansman is better for it. His direction is incredible. I especially loved how he would show the juxtaposition between the two groups. How we would be watching a klan initiation and flip back to a man telling a group of black college students about the horrors of racism and what they need to do to fight it. Lee manages to make you feel disgusted, laugh occasionally, and overwhelm you with power all within the film's two hour run time. If you think he's taking digs at our current administration during the film, just wait until the end when he flat out calls them out.
John David Washington has his dad Denzel's voice but he doesn't once try to emulate him in any way. He's completely his own character and he's tremendous in this role. Stallworth really believes in being a police officer and wanting to prove himself. Anyone who reads this blog knows that Adam Driver is currently one of my favorite actors and he's great here too as a Jewish officer tasked with physically being around a bunch of psychos. You legitimately feel anxious in these scenes where they're questioning him.
Another thing Lee did that I found interesting was the way he shot Driver and Washington when they were sharing the screen. I felt like Driver was always subtly out of frame. He'd have his back turned or would be in the background somewhere. Was it because they were both playing "Ron" at different times and he wanted to remind us all who the real Ron was?
In my first draft of this review, I talked about what he does at the end of the film that really hits it home and had me walking out of the theater with tears in my eyes. But it's best not reading about it first. Just go in and feel... and take those feelings with you when you vote.
Memorable Quote: "Did you get that?" - Ron Stallworth (John David Washington)