Oscar Watch: BLACKkKLANSMAN
“BLACKkKLANSMAN”, directed by Spike Lee is based on real events about a black police officer and his undercover mission with the Ku Klux Klan. He is the first black police officer in their city and he ends up doing great undercover work. Spike Lee does a beautiful job of highlighting racism in America. It laughs at how many passes we tend to give racists even in today’s world.
By Nicole Mattox
The way they opened this movie was brilliant. It starts with Alec Baldwin in black and white spewing the 50s ideals of race. This was a great opening because it introduces the ideas that are going to be addressed in the upcoming scenes. Alec Baldwin was the perfect actor for this part of the film because he does a great job of portraying ignorance and a huge ego. While he’s talking he stutters over his words and constantly is asking for his lines. This shows him as someone who is incompetent and it seems ridiculous that anyone would believe a word he’s saying. I think this is a way to shine a light on how ridiculous the idea of racism is, but in reality many people just went with the idea.
It is pretty clear that Lee is making “BLACKkKLANSMAN”” as a sort of ant-”Birth of a nation”. They even have it playing at the Ku Klux Klan initiation at the end of the movie. They are all laughing and loving the movie, but to the audience it is meant to look ridiculous. This is another action pointing out how people used to really act, but they did not think it was wrong at all. The nature of the film is supposed to be making fun of how serious these people took something that should not make sense. Even the main characters reaction to the people in the Ku Klux Klan is almost aloof, laughing along at what they’re saying to the whole situation. This gives the audience the understanding that they’re supposed to laugh along.
The audience is brought into the world of the movie through the experience of the cinematography, the acting, and the costume/set design. I love the use of their long-take shots throughout the movie. Spike Lee is of course known for using a double dolly in order to have the appearance of the character floating which I think was used beautifully in “BLACKkKLANSMAN””. All the actors were also cast perfectly for their parts and they really dove into their characters. That is essential for a great film in order to catch and keep the audience’s attention. The last aspect that really added to the quality of the movie was the set design and costumes. The entire team stuck to the feel of the era they were in. There was no part of the look that snapped you out of the world they created for you.
All in all this was a beautifully crafted piece of art that draws attention to a real issue. I can’t talk about this movie and not bring up the ending. It was footage of the 2017 white supremacists rally and it was chilling. The use of real footage was a brilliant move that shocked a lot of viewers with a dramatic shift in tone coming directly after the double dolly. I think it was a great way to end the movie leaving the audience in a state of shock and sadness. This is a great choice to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars.