Fight the powers that be.
Spike Lee delivers an often-hilarious, yet righteously-angry film which shines a spotlight on a tale from the ’70s, while connecting that decade’s fight to the present world.
John David Washington plays the real-life Ron Stallworth, a Black cop who infiltrated the KKK by posing as a white man on the phone.
Tweaking notorious racist jackass (and future presidential candidate) David Duke, the undercover brother dances with danger, always aware he has little support from his fellow cops.
It’s a bold, bracing film, another memorable salvo from a director never afraid to fire the big guns.
It had a receptive audience of one.
When this biopic hit theaters in 1992, I was the lone person in a seat for the first matinee on opening day in Oak Harbor, Washington.
Three-and-a-half hours later, as I staggered outside, overwhelmed by the power of Spike Lee’s film, and Denzel Washington’s fire-breathing lead performance, I was sure of one thing.
This was going to win Oscars, and a lot of them.
So, my 21-year-old self was naïve…
But, Oscars come and go. This film, and the life of its protagonist, endure.
A power house then, a power house now.
You can’t escape the past.
A group of Black soldiers return to Vietnam years after the war which shaped their lives, intent on recovering gold bars they hid before shipping out.
But there’s more going on here, as ghosts from the past haunt in Spike Lee’s powerful twist on films like The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.
Each of the men are on two paths – to find the gold, but also to make peace with events of the past.
The cast is strong across the board, but give Delroy Lindo special props as the most damaged of this wild bunch.