The Oscar Project Reviews
Spike Lee won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay this year, and while this is a great adaptation of Ron Stallworth's autobiographical book by the same name, I felt a little put off by some of the decisions the director made in translating the story to the screen.
Overall, the film is great. It tells an incredible story of the black man who infiltrated the Colorado Springs chapter of the Ku Klux Klan, "The Organization" as those involved call it. As expected, the film has plenty of thoughts on the topic of race and what it means to be fighting for your own race, regardless of what side you come down on.
John David Washington is perfect as Stallworth, Adam Driver shines as his white alter ego, and Topher Grace puts in a good performance as Klan Grand Wizard David Duke. The portrayal of Stallworth as a man stuck between two worlds is hammered home throughout the film when he participates in an undercover investigation as a black power rally, and then ultimately lands his place in the local Klan.
Where I felt the film lacking was in the actual adaptation of the book. I listened to the book on CD, read by the author, immediately prior to watching the film and didn't like some of the plot choices Lee made in translating it to film. While we don't know for sure if the Klan members Stallworth interacted with during his investigation ever suspected his true identity, the film portrays several of them doing just that. The character selected for this suspicion also doesn't come across as the brightest bulb, but somehow puts together the rouse that is being played on him and his pals.
In the end, the film accomplishes the goal of covering race relations from various angles. The closing segment with footage from the vehicle incident in Charlottesville, Virginia from August 2017 is jarring, but a reminder that the world portrayed throughout the film has more in common with today than it has differences. Despite some claiming that we have moved on, there is still plenty of hate in this country, regardless of your political beliefs.
7 out of 10