Back in the mid-1970s, Ron Stallworth became the first black police officer in the town of Colorado Springs, some ways south of Denver. In 1979, in an even more impressive feat of cultural pioneering, he became the first black member of the Ku Klux Klan.
Therein, of course, lies a story. Stallworth told it in a 2014 book, and now it has provided rich material for Spike Lee, a director long-overdue for a hit. The movie he's made from Stallworth's tale is surprisingly funny, mainly because most of the white Klansmen we meet here are such utter buffoons. There are dark currents running through the film, too, of course, and Lee doesn't let them flow by unnoticed. But when you hear one character talking about black people being "shot down in the streets by white racist cops," or saying, "They're killing us like dogs," you'd have to be terminally narcoleptic to miss the contemporary resonance, writes Kurt Loder.
Photo Credit: Focus Features