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Why you shouldn’t miss out on watching “BlacKkKlansman”

American director Spike Lee, known for films such as "Malcom X", does not shy away from tackling issues like racism. With “BlacKkKlansman”, Lee hits the proverbial nail on the head. The movie released in Belgium on the 19th of september and can be watched in different theatres. Here are five reasons why you should go watch BlacKkKlansman.

Article by Arno Vermeulen

1. The superb storytelling

Because it’s based on a true story, BlacKkKlansman has a lot of source material to work with. Directors have the tendency to follow the book tempo closely, but the pacing is well adapted to cinema this time. No storyline feels forced or unnecessary, and the occasional dose of humour makes it easily watchable. The film tells one smoothly written story, that’ll suck you right in, before spitting you back out at the end.

John David Washington as Ron Stallworth, protagonist in BlacKkKlansman

2. A great way to catch up with history

BlacKkKlansman contains an important history lesson on the prevalence of the Ku Klux Klan and the Black Panthers in the seventies. A firm contrast between the two movements’ ideologies is present, but Spike Lee portrays their similarities as well. Films like BlacKkKlansman make sure the historical importance of the movements are not lost on the younger viewers, who weren't present back in the seventies.

3. The power cast

The film features an unbelievable pool of acting talent, with both famous as well as lesser-known actors. After a small appearance in Malcolm X, John David Washington takes the stage in BlacKkKlansman, and does so with style. Adam Driver, best known for his role as Kylo Ren in the new Star Wars trilogy, plays a convincing ‘white Ron Stallworth’.

Topher Grace, who plays Eric Forman in “That 70s Show”, shows a surprising depth to the role of David Duke, Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. He called the role “a nightmare to prepare for”, after having to study the works, mannerisms and ideologies of the Klan leader for months. Jasper Pääkkönen, known from the TV series “Vikings”, plays a hauntingly believable white supremacist. All this while Laura Harrier shows that the Black movement in the seventies contained a fair dose of girl power.

Topher Grace as Grand Wizard David Duke

4. The smooth cinematography

Of course, just telling a story often isn’t enough nowadays. The cinematography by Chayse Irvin consists of colourful, symmetrical shots, smooth transitions and stark contrast. The score makes for a rich viewing experience. The track “Blut Und Boden (Blood and Soil)” contains a great guitar riff that accompanies the key scenes throughout the film.

5. Its relevance (with a hard R)

In today’s sociopolitical landscape with a rise of alt-right ideologies in the West, BlacKkKlansman tells a story that needs to be told. The parallels Spike Lee draws (or at least implies) are clear, yet scary. To quote protagonist Ron Stallworth: ‘America would never elect someone as David Duke (Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan) as president’. A sentence that would have evoked laughter only years ago, suddenly silences even the most sceptical of viewers. The ending of the film is followed by a gut-wrenching montage of events that happened a little too recently to feel comfortable watching. BlacKkKlansman makes you think. And it does so wonderfully.

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