'An Alarm Clock Rings' in Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman

Critics applaud this history lesson on racism in America
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 10, 2018 11:34 AM CDT

(Newser) – Spike Lee wants President Trump to see his new movie, reports Reuters, and critics want you to see it, too. Based on the true 1970s story of a black police officer who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan, BlacKkKlansman has a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with critics commenting on its timeliness in particular. More:

  • "BlacKkKlansman is a furious, funny, blunt and brilliant confrontation with the truth. It's an alarm clock ringing in the midst of a historical nightmare, and also a symphony, the rare piece of political popular art that works in all three dimensions," AO Scott writes in a glowing review at the New York Times. He calls the film Lee's "best nondocumentary feature in more than a decade and one of his greatest."
  • Brian Lowry at CNN agrees it's "among Lee's best films in some time." He "isn't subtle about connecting the dots between the unsettling resurgence of white supremacist movements today, President Trump's rhetoric and the Klan of four decades ago," and that makes the film "feel urgent and dishearteningly relevant." Lowry adds it also works as an "old-fashioned tale of undercover work."

  • "Ultimately the film is a rallying cry," and you leave "shaken, remembering what happened not so very long ago in the name of 'very fine people on both sides,'" writes Moira Macdonald at the Seattle Times. But as devastating as some moments are, BlacKkKlansman also entertains, Macdonald writes, pointing out the particular comedic talents of Paul Walker Hauser, who plays a Klansman.
  • Even when giving a history lesson, Lee manages to surprise in this "crazy, memorable, messy bombshell in classic bell-bottoms … viscerally exciting, fun and saddening all at once," writes Colin Covert at the Minneapolis Star Tribune. John David Washington offers "a density rarely seen in true-blue cop roles," Covert adds, while "the supporting cast can't receive enough praise."

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