Spike Lee’s movies, when they’re political in any way, aren’t subtle.
That is not a bad thing. Sometimes it may be necessary as it is in his latest BlacKkKlansman.
Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) is the newly hired rookie at the Colorado Springs police department. He’s also the first black man to be hired by the department at all. After a stint in the records room, he gets a chance to do undercover work, and on a whim he opts to call the local branch of the KKK to see if he can join over the phone. To pull off the undercover work, he’ll need the help of another detective (Adam Driver) for face-to-face meetings, and from there see what they can learn about the local white supremacists.
As I said, Spike Lee didn’t make a subtle movie. And despite the trailers suggesting this may be more of a humorous look at someone going undercover, it doesn’t go that way. Sure, there’s humor to be gleamed from the idea of a black man tricking white supremacists over the phone to join their ranks, and Lee does play some of it–especially the early parts–for laughs, but this movie gets less funny as it goes. The movie likewise, even before the end when Lee splices in footage from more recent events, makes sure to let the audience know that the problems of racism and white supremacy are still alive and well in 2018. Like I said, it isn’t a subtle movie. But sometimes, you can’t be subtle. For stuff like this, you shouldn’t be. Ten out of ten parallel narratives.