The first trailer for Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman has been released. Based on a true story, the film's narrative centers around Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), an African-American police officer who successfully infiltrates a local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. To accomplish this, Stallworth partnered up with a white man (Adam Driver), who is referred to as Flip Zimmerman in the film. Flip (who's called Chuck in Stallworth's book) would attend face-to-face meetings as Ron, while Stallworth conducted business with the Klan over the phone. The operation was so successful, it saw Stallworth eventually become the chapter's head.
At least on-paper, BlacKkKlansman sounds like it could have been a serious drama, but Lee apparently had something else in mind when he tackled the material. Footage from the film was showed at CinemaCon, where many attendees remarked that it was laced with humor and played as a buddy cop movie of sorts with Washington and Driver as the leads. When one also considers the fact Lee teamed with Get Out's Jordan Peele and Jason Blum to bring this tale to the screen, BlacKkKlansman is definitely one of the more intriguing films hitting theaters this summer. General audiences now have an opportunity to see what the movie's all about. You can see the trailer in the space above.
The trailer establishes the broad strokes of the story, introducing Stallworth as a rookie officer in the Colorado Springs Police Department. It just so happens Stallworth is the first African-American cop in the city, and he's looking to make a big splash at his new job. He gets the wild idea to infiltrate the KKK (in an effort to prevent an incoming attack), and earns the trust of David Duke with an hilarious racist tirade over the phone where Stallworth proclaims to hate anyone who isn't a pure white American. Teaming up with the white officer Zimmerman, the two form the "Stallworth Brothers" and get to work on their investigation.
The use of The Temptations' catchy number "Ball of Confusion (That's What the World is Today)" seems like a perfect representation of BlacKkKlansmans' themes and tones. The lyrics of the song reference various societal issues of the era (including racism), which Lee is definitely tackling here. And while the director has cautioned against using "comedy" to classify the film, it's evident BlacKkKlansman is embracing the absurdity of its real-life story, playing as a "can you believe this?" type of tale, with the intention being to highlight the idiocy of the KKK. This isn't to say Lee (who has always injected humor into his works) is skirting on drama. The scene where Ron challenges Flip about the latter's attitude towards the assignment hints at a fascinating dynamic, and BlacKkKlansman is dealing with topics that remain relevant in today's world.
It's been a long time since Lee had a bona fide hit, so hopefully BlacKkKlansman is a return to form for the auteur. As stated above, its presentation at CinemaCon went over well with attendees, and the full trailer certainly hints at an entertaining and wild period piece. The director has not been nominated for an Oscar since 1998 (Best Documentary Feature), but some are predicting his latest will have him back in the awards season discussion. After Get Out rewrote the Oscar rulebook last year, anything is possible, and it'll be interesting to see how things play out.
Source: Focus Features
- BlacKkKlansman (2018) release date: Aug 10, 2018