(2018/Universal 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)
Ultra HD Picture: B+ 1080p HD Picture: B- Sound: B+
Extras: C Film: B
recent years, Spike Lee never stopped making feature films, but may
have become sidetracked a bit with genre remakes that were
or unusual (Ganja
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
(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
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
which itself deals with distorted identities, if not racism. Both
still juggle plenty of psychosis.
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.
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
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:
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
(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.
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.
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
are few, but include an Extended Original Theatrical Trailer with
Prince singing ''Mary
Don't You Weep''
and a too-brief Making Of featurette.