Stranger than fiction, Wednesday’s film BlacKkKlansman, is probably the best Spike Lee film in 20 years

Probably the best Spike Lee film in 20 years, this stranger than fiction story of a black man infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan mixes absurd comedy with jaw-dropping racism to brilliant effect.

Both a social satire and a stunning period piece, BlacKkKlansman revolves around a wonderfully knowing performance by John David Washington, with Adam Driver just as good as his corporeal Jewish alter ego. Harry Belafonte is particularly moving in a brief cameo as veteran activist Jerome Turner, while a superb cast of supporting misfits and malcontents are headed up by Topper Grace as the ridiculous, yet terrifying Grand Wizard, David Duke. Together, Washington and Driver worm their way into a Ku Klux Klan that is so palpably absurd in its philosophy and execution, it would be hilarious if it were not the grim reality.

Reminiscent of Chris Morris’s Three Lions, Spike Lee’s film reveals not only the evils of racism, but also its banality and stupidity, in a film that draws explicit parallels with what is going on in America today. The closing scenes, added after the film’s completion, are perhaps the most chilling of all – not least as they include current footage of David Duke, showing how little seems to have been learned since the lynchings of yesteryear.

By David Vass