- The performances here are very solid. John David Washington plays our lead character “Ron Stallworth” as a straight arrow man with a lot of nuance. His charisma and comedic chops are as well put on show here with many hilarious moments, especially being seen with all his phone conversations with KKK grand wizard David Duke. Adam Driver here plays Washington’s partner in the film “Flip Zimmerman” and he brings his character to some interesting places. We see Driver’s character find himself in a place looking back on his heritage as a Jewish man, while also being undercover in the KKK. Driver plays that shock beautifully as he as well finds that he has some skin in the game. The chemistry that both Driver and Washington have together is also one of the many highlights of the film. Every moment they share on screen hits ranging emotions, from belly laughs to deep intense conversations and they all work extremely well. Last, but certainly not least, Topher Grace gives maybe his best performance here as the previously mentioned David Duke. Grace plays Duke as a kind charming man on the surface, but once he opens his mouth and speaks his mind more you find how deranged Duke really is.
- Spike Lee here brings his best film since “Inside Man”, as this angry confrontational film feels oh so timely. Lee continues to bring his expressionist flair throughout the film with many sequences. Most notably there is a moment in the film where we see a emotionally charged speech to the “Colorado College Black Student Union” and as that speech goes on we get these angelic looks at members of the crowd that are all framed against a black background. And this I feel is a perfect snapshot of what this film is, a dishearteningly relevant and viscerally exciting film that’s justified rage will strike a chord with hopefully all its viewers.
- The screenplay here by Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott and Spike Lee brings so many elements and emotions to this entire film. And with the help of Lee’s direction the balance of them all is extraordinary. The use of comedy and uneasy tension is something this film has down pat. The countless moments where you find yourself laughing and then squirming in your seat a split second later are some of the greatest moments in the film.
- The cinematography here by Chayse Irvin is quite solid. Irvin brings a beautiful grain to the film that has some moments where the over-exposure really shines. That being seen in one of the final moments of the film where we see two characters seemingly gliding down a hallway and exposure grain is just a feast for the eyes.
- Terence Blanchard’s score here is some of the best work of his career. He brings a smooth electric guitar to a good chunk of the score which gives the film an interesting flair of emotion.
- There is a moment in the film where a character puts something together and the ten second process it takes is beyond a stretch that the character could put two and two together so quickly.