Don’t call it a comeback: Though it’s been years since visionary director Spike Lee has created a traditional-format feature film, BLACKKKLANSMAN is just the latest in a long line of credits that tackle timely topics of race relations, urban crime and poverty, and other political issues.
Nearly 30 years after race drama DO THE RIGHT THING, the new Spike Lee joint, produced by the team behind the Academy Award®-winning GET OUT, examines white supremacy through the lens of a crazy, outrageous, incredible true story.
In the early 1970s, Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), the first African-American detective to serve in the Colorado Springs Police Department, successfully manages to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan and become the head of the local chapter. He teams up with a more seasoned colleague, Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver), who poses as Stallworth to attend in-person KKK meetings. Together, they work to take down the extremist hate group as the organization aims to sanitize its violent rhetoric to appeal to the mainstream. Lee and the stars share more in our exclusive interview.
Racism Is Not a Problem of the Past
Though BLACKKKLANSMAN is set in post-civil rights America, racism endures, and Lee and writing partner Kevin Willmott made a point to connect the period film to today. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Willmott said, “This is the challenge — the challenge that audiences, both black and white audiences, have to grapple with. There’s truth to be had there.”
The film’s release is timed, almost to the day, to the one-year anniversary of the Charlottesville, Virginia, “Unite the Right” rally and the death of Heather Heyer. At the end of the film, Lee has included footage of hate speech and brutal violence, remembering Heyer with the words “Rest in power.”
Lee said, in an interview with Rolling Stone, “I’m going to go back to ‘Wake up.’ That’s been in almost all my films. Wake up. Be alert. Don’t fall asleep.”
Audiences and critics are already waking up to BLACKKKLANSMAN ahead of the August 10 release. After its premiere at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, BLACKKKLANSMAN received a six-minute standing ovation and the Grand Prix, the festival’s second-most prestigious award.
Though white supremacy is a heavy topic, Lee, as only he can, balances the story with satire and humor — a difficult feat that could turn disastrous if not done correctly. And like many of Lee’s other films, the message of BLACKKKLANSMAN will stay with you long after you leave the theatre.
Get your tickets to BLACKKKLANSMAN at AMC today.