Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansmen proved to be an extremely difficult film to watch. Not only was the language the KKK members used atrocious, but it felt like they were just saying things to say things at some point. It was clear these men had a lot of anger in their hearts for some reason, but none of it ever felt particularly “justified” or explained, you know? Also, I struggled to understand Ron as a character–why did he really want to become a cop in the first place? Why was he so ready and willing to put himself in harm’s way (working with the KKK) as soon as he got to the police station? I wish that could’ve been further explained as well.
Overall, I enjoyed this movie’s usage of past and present events but also foreshadowing others. For example, the scene where the Sergeant tells Ron that he believes one day the U.S. will vote someone into the Oval Office who supports the ideas that the KKK is spouting. We have seen exactly this today with Donald Trump. Additionally, I loved seeing the similar scenes that reflected many from Malcolm X, such as the close-up shots of black individuals’ faces as they were listening to inspiring words of leaders around them, the emphasis on the beginning and end of the films with past and present events in history that situate the film in the particular time period/political landscape, and the scenes in which the characters are moving towards the camera on some kind of treadmill (we only see their bodies gliding but nothing else) that preceded the most haunting scenes in both films.
I honestly feel like I have so much more to share on this film, but I think I need more time to process and understand everything I just watched. It was overwhelming in many ways for me, as a black woman, but also just as a human being, to watch parts of this film, but it was also revealing to see the ways in which power and our nation’s history affected and still continue to affect the country.