There is very little not to love about BlacKkKlansman. Even the title is genius! The entire cast are fantastic, but the film really hangs off the exceptional performances given by John David Washington (who utterly steals the show), Adam Driver, and Topher Grace, the latter of which really surprised me with his portrayal of über-racist David Duke. I've enjoyed Grace in a number of films (and, of course, That 70s Show), but he may have been born to play this slightly surreal, dark-comedy role.
That the movie is based on real events makes it somehow all the greater, but I'm extremely glad that they emphasised the points of the film rather than the history of it. It might be a story set in 1972, but it's very much a film for the 21st century and it's important to drill that home. I thought the bold swing at Trump's America at the end was perfectly placed and had enjoyed the many subtle nods throughout to his divisive and racist rhetoric, with many of the KKK's members paraphrasing core slogans from the 2016 presidential race ("Make America Great" etc. etc.) throughout. In a similar vein, I thought it was great that they showed the investigation getting shut down, despite its exceptional track record. Again, it goes to highlight how much of an uphill battle reform and the removal of white nationalism from a society has been and will continue to be.
On the other hand, BlacKkKlansman doesn't shy away from showing hypocrisies on both sides. There are plenty of black people referenced by black characters as "sellouts" or no longer worthy of being considered "black", an argument which may have some merit in particularly unusual circumstances but which has also been weaponised in more modern times to hurt the civil rights movement in general. There's also a brilliant sequence of cuts towards the end as we jump between Duke's KKK ceremony and the gathering at the Black Student Union where they're hearing about the horrific lynching of Jesse Washington that really underlines the reality of racism, before quickly cutting to comparison sequences as both groups stand up, raising arms to the air, and chant either "White Power!" or "Black Power!". The whole montage does a great job of pointing out the simple differences between why one of these groups if on the right side of morality and the other is not, whilst also subtly hinting that they may be a little more connected than you would hope. I have mixed feelings about the result, but I respect that they even tried.
I'm also a big fan of making Driver's character Jewish, helping to broaden the topics being discussed and really pinpointing the antisemitism also at work within both the culture in general and the Klan in particular. The moment when he's discussing how he'd never really thought about his heritage until he was being forced by the Klan to renounce it is extremely powerful and moving.
Story and acting aside, the film is beautifully shot, produced, written etc. etc. The homages to blacksploitation movie tropes, like the elongating-corridor pan, as well as the perfect costume decisions all add small details to what would have been an otherwise excellent movie. Plus, it's really funny. For a film about such serious issues there are some amazing moments of levity, as well as heaps of dark humour. Like I say, there's very little not to love; an absolute classic.