The Best of Enemies


Viewed – 17 April 2021 Netflix

It’s unfortunate that the awful history of racism in America can make for such riveting movies. Set in North Carolina in 1971, this explores the story of a female black activist who gets pitted against a leader of the local Klu Klux Klan. When forced to work together to pass a bill about racial integration in schools, the two rivals find themselves forming an unusual friendship.

This is the type of movie that really gets one thinking and questioning the world we live in. Immediately the setting and time period, aided by a great soundtrack pulled me in. This was also brilliantly acted, with the stand out being Taraji P Hensen (Hidden Figures), who delivers a powerhouse performance as Ann Atwater. Sam Rockwell as KKK leader C P Ellis is also excellent and delivers possibly one of his best turns in a challenging portrayal. Although the story might seem familiar and there’s certainly comparisons to be had with the acclaimed Green Book, this still really grabbed me. Direction from first-timer Robin Bissell was authentic and engrossing, and delivered a surprisingly feel good ending that really made the movie for me.

For such material it very much glosses over some of the worst the KKK were known for, although I’m guessing this was more a character piece focusing on how people can learn from one another … and in that respect it’s pretty damn great. One to check out.

Verdict: Recommended

Blackkklansman


Viewed – 05 February 2019 online rental

An African-American cop in the 70’s infiltrates the Klu Klux Klan in a bid to expose them and prove himself at the same time.

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This movie had a really strange vibe. Lead actor John David Washington stood out like a comedy actor in a straight movie who still thinks he’s in a comedy. The subject of racism and the KKK is clearly being satirised but sits uneasy with such a serious, sickening subject. This is not helped by the movie eventually throwing in shocking real-life footage to hammer home its point. Director Spike Lee has always been one of the strongest voices for black culture and black cinema but here his intentions feel misguided. The story based on a book isn’t as compelling either and I came away wondering just what had the main character achieved? Star Wars’ Adam Driver is decent as a fellow detective and performances overall are fine. Lee has delivered a stylish, authentic looking movie yet also fills it with some odd music cues with an overall 70’s blaxploitation feel.

As a different take on the subject of racism and as a movie that certainly has some fun and intriguing moments it’s worth a watch … I just think it would have been more impactful played either entirely comedic or entirely straight.

Verdict: 2.5 /5

Get Out


Viewed – 01 August 2017  Online-rental

I kept hearing very good things about this relatively under-the-radar horror-thriller so thought I’d check it out.  A black guy goes to spend the weekend with his white girlfriend’s family but not long after arriving he starts to feel there is something rather strange about these people.  Is it simply paranoia or is there really something sinister afoot?

Get Out

Think of this like a more seriously creepy version of Meet The Parents.  I quickly began to get absorbed by the concept and the racial tension take was refreshing.  British actor Daniel Kaluuya (Psychoville) proves an effective lead and support from Catherine Keener and Allison Williams were also decent.  It’s what makes this work so well; a strong cast and a foreboding, well handled sense of dread and eeriness.  The eventual revelation of what is really going on is also pretty damn disturbing.  Comic relief from motor-mouthed newcomer LilRel Howery felt a little out of place but still kind of worked and although not a horror in the traditional sense, this holds up a compelling reflection of modern racism and social classes that is surprisingly scary and probably still relevant.

It descends into typical horror survival territory towards the end despite maintaining a freaky atmosphere (with echoes of The Wicker Man).  However, along with good use of foreshadowing, solid performances and leaving this viewer with plenty to think about post-credits …  this remains one to see.

Verdict:  4 /5