Arriving a year after white supremacists marched in the streets of Charlottesville, Spike Lee's BlackKklansman is a slapstick comedy, a blaxsploitation throwback and an incendiary Molotov cocktail thrown into the foray of the modern multiplex.

The most urgent, clear-voiced and, arguably, best of the outspoken filmmaker's recent output, the film explores the astonishing true story of Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) a black Colorado detective who successfully infiltrated the local sect of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s.

The story is immediately attention-grabbing and continually draws parallels between its story and the modern-day American racial landscape. None of it is subtle - characters often serve as mouthpieces for the director, delivering long speeches or conversations on everything from the police state to slavery - but for a film that functions as a reaction to Trump's America, how could it be?

What is surprising is how Lee has built BlackKklansman into a crowd-pleasing, almost madcap experience. The film's depiction of racists, particularly those within the Klan, tends toward the humorous – those in the Klan are menacing, but mostly pretty stupid.

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This is perhaps to be expected for a film about Klansmen falling for a black man posing as a fellow white supremacist, but Lee pulls back when it comes to indicting less obvious cases of the same in modern society.

His point of view is never out of the question, but occasionally he lets his police characters off the hook a little too easily, particularly considering the film's desire to allude to the current state of things in America.

It is all a funny, pointed experience until the spine-chillingly poetic coda, which hurls us into the modern-day and renders the officers' victories almost totally hollow, calling into question the ability to do good in a fundamentally flawed system.

Cast:

John David Washington, Topher Grace

Director:

Spike Lee

Running time:

135 minutes

Rating:

RP13 (Vioence, offensive language, sexual references & content that may disturb)

Verdict:

A wild, angry, intense ride - funny until it really isn't funny at all.