Legendary director Spike Lee has shocked the world yet again with BlacKkKlansman, an indictment on America’s current race relations in which actor Topher Grace plays Grand Wizard and National Director of the Ku Klux Klan David Duke.
“I wanted to funnel nerd culture’s irrational bitterness towards Topher towards something positive,” Lee said of the casting choice.
“Unfortunately just having the leader of the KKK as a character in the film wasn’t enough to get white audiences offside. I needed to make the character truly unlikeable automatically.”
Spike Lee, director of BlacKkKlansman
The Venn diagram of white nerds and racists has quite a crossover. For some reason many of these people already hold a distaste for Topher Grace in their hearts, so casting him as Duke certainly seems to be an easier transition for that audience.
And it works. In a fantastic performance as the racist KKK leader, Grace certainly makes you forget he was the lamest part of the lamest Spiderman movie.
What is most puzzling about BlacKkKlansman though, isn’t the casting, but the strange costume and design choices. I was left confused as to why a story clearly set in modern-day America had everybody dressed in 1970s fashion.
And the film goes further than that: despite obviously being set today, all the characters use handheld landline phones, drive 1970s cars, and there is not a computer or cell phone in sight.
The portrayal of racial tensions is an obvious and incredibly accurate recreation of the world in 2018, so why Lee made the creative choice to set the movie in some kind of alternate universe where everything looks like the 70s is anyone’s guess.
To conclude, BlacKkKlansman is an essential, tense, fast-paced crime thriller, and paying admission to see it is a perfect way for white audiences feel like they are supporting the cause of racial equality without actually doing anything.