TV Party Tonight! #60

TV Party Tonight! #60

Monday, 12 November 2018

[Blu-ray digital combo]

I have one question for Spike Lee: how dumb does he think his audience is? I had high hopes for Blackkklansman. I heard good things from friends and the internet. Both touting it as entertaining and impressive. After all, when has the internet ever been wrong or hyperbolic? However, after finally watching it I realize that the internet is dumb. And maybe my friends are dumb too. Certainly, Spike lee thinks his audience is dumb and uninformed. I think you see where I’m going with this…

I could go on and on with how frustrated and angry I felt with this movie, but I’ll try to vent just a little. Let’s start with the pacing of the movie. Blackkklansman quickly establishes its characters in the first 15 minutes, their personalities, the scene, and the stakes… then does almost nothing with them for the next two hours. It’s painfully frustrating and dull to watch. Spike Lee chooses to portray his characters as one-dimensional cartoons with confusing drives. We don’t know why Ron Stallworth is trying to prove himself to his fellow officers, or why they’re trying to help him in his case, short of the fact that they just happened to be filed in the “good guys” category and they have to fight the guys in the “bad guys” category. The good cops are thoroughly good, the bad cops are thoroughly bad (and get their comedically Hollywood-type comeuppance), the KKK is made up solely of idiotic, toothless, petty rednecks (spoiler alter: in real life they’re not). In this way, Spike Lee horribly misrepresents the complexity of the situation, the thin line that each party has to play to get to their end goal. Or at least what their real life counterparts have had to maneuver around.

Then, there’s the thing Blackkklansman does in treating its audience like uneducated uninformed babies. There is scene after scene of perplexing events and dialogue that don’t contribute at all to the story, that only afterwards I understood was supposed to shock the audience as to how the KKK views the world and what they talk about. Spike Lee seems to think his audience is fragile and sheltered and will seriously be surprised by this organization’s language and actions. And sitting through it all is both infuriating and frustrating.

And what an ending. Blackkklansman chooses to inelegantly force-feed a message to its audience showing extended real-life footage, apropos of nothing, of Donald Trump speaking and the Vice footage of the KKK rally in Charleston. This is all just low hanging fruit and doesn’t say anything new and doesn’t fit at all with the tone of the movie.

So, Blackkklansman might be revelatory and thought-provoking to the dumb audience who is easily shocked, but if you’ve checked the news over the past 2 years, you’ll feel patronized and would be wasting your time with it.

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