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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Crime > Detective > Racism > Mystery > Politics > Murder > BLACKkKLANSMAN 4K (2018/Universal 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)

BLACKkKLANSMAN 4K (2018/Universal 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)

4K Ultra HD Picture: B+ 1080p HD Picture: B- Sound: B+ Extras: C Film: B

In recent years, Spike Lee never stopped making feature films, but may have become sidetracked a bit with genre remakes that were problematic (Oldboy) or unusual (Ganja & Hess), but films about The Black Experience and truth hiding underneath institutionalized racism have produced his most important films. Based on a true story (we can take that claim seriously for a change), BLACKkKLANSMAN (2018) is based on the true story of an African American police officer (great work by John David Washington) Ku Klux Klan recruitment phone number (long before cell phones, Caller ID and the like) and actually gets an immediate answer. He decides to pretend to be an angry white racist and immediately is welcome with open arms!!!

However, he cannot show up or give up that he is not white, so he convinces a fellow officer (Adam Driver, amazing as ever) to be him when not on the phone. Sounds like it could be a very grim screwball comedy and it is slightly sold that way, but it is not a real comedy and anything funny is as unintentional as Martin Scorsese's King Of Comedy, which itself deals with distorted identities, if not racism. Both still juggle plenty of psychosis.

These detectives have to figure out what they are up to, then the situation gets worse when a military-grade explosive goes missing and the federal government gets involved indirectly. The film asks some important questions and how the unthinkable keeps happening, making the story then based on the book by real life detective Ron Stallworth. Lee has explicitly stated it is about racism that we have seen breaking out in the last few years since the 2016 Election and the film has only become more relevant since its release. The ending is great and I can imagine what he could have added since this hit theaters, but all that has happened in the few short months since it debuted on the big screen only confirms how 100% on the money Lee is and add just how good, well-paced, well-written, well cast and well performed the film is and you have one of the year's best.

Cheers also to a few cameos I will not ruin, plus the wonderful Laura Harrier as the leftist Ron meets to find the truth out on the other side of the political struggle, Ashley Atkinson (Lee's Inside Man) as a main racist('s) wife who is as out of her mind as she's being used and the again fearless Topher Grace portraying one of the worst people in U.S. (all) political history and absolute hatemongering: David Duke.

Though I'm always happy to see a great director like Lee try to stretch into new directions, he has not lost his comedy sense either, but this is his strongest outright political film since Bamboozled (2000) if not Clockers (1995) or even Malcolm X (1992), so it is his strongest best form in a while. No we'll see how much more accurate BLACKkKLANSMAN is as it continues to arrive in the home, uncut.

The film is exceptionally well shot on film in the 2.35 X 1 scope frame (Super 35 with some Super 16) and in its 2160p HEVC/H.265, Dolby Vision/HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image looks smooth, fine, solid and with very naturalistic, wide color range that puts most HD to shame. Director of Photography Chayse Irvin, C.S.C., does a really seamless job making it all look real without surreal, overdoing the colors in a cliched 1970s style (as the logo of the film may suggest), yet it still looks authentically period. The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on the regular Blu-ray is fine, but can have some dull moments visually and no match for the older format cannot handle. Especially considering it is a film shoot, all the more reason, Dolby Vision was needed for the 4K version to capture as much of the great quality of the advanced 35mm Kodak Vision 3 color negative film with some Kodak black & white, Kodak Ektachrome and 16mm footage.

The sound on both versions is Dolby Atmos 11.1 lossless (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mixdown for older systems) and though dialogue-based at times, has some good sound design and impressive use of classic hit records. Lee's film always pay attention to sound and note how he plays with sound the characters cannot hear but we can between scenes and their transitions.

Extras are few, but include an Extended Original Theatrical Trailer with Prince singing ''Mary Don't You Weep'' and a too-brief Making Of featurette.

- Nicholas Sheffo


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