Gaps: BlacKkKlansman

I really enjoyed BlacKkKlansman, so much so that I watched it in theaters a few times. The acting is great, the message is wonderfully needed/relevant in today’s world, and the plot generally makes sense and keeps the audience engaged. After my last viewing of the film, “generally”, becomes the operative term here.

For the first three fourths of the movie the plot takes intense, but logical turns. The undercover investigation develops, and the police department comes to increasingly embrace and support the investigation. However, when the movie nears it’s climax, with David Duke (played by Topher Grace) coming to town, the investigation is put in jeopardy when John David Washington is assigned to be Duke’s personal security detail.

Now even taking the undercover investigation out of the equation, this would be a baffling choice. Washington is the only non-white officer in the entire department. The movie claims that “everyone else is busy” which seems like a quick “band-aid” reason for this assignment. If we add in the fact that Washington has been conducting an undercover investigation over the phone, talking to Duke on a regular basis, this assignment makes even less sense has it jeopardizes the entire investigation. The chances of Duke recognizing the voice would basically end the investigation, and place Washington in danger, being found out and surrounded by the town’s entire KKK contingent. This move just simply doesn’t make sense from a police perspective.

Upon further research, this isn’t how the investigation panned out in real life, which makes much more sense. What I don’t understand, is why Spike Lee and the writers of the film adaptation decided to go down this route. Washington could’ve just followed Duke from afar. Adam Driver would’ve been there regardless, and having Washington in the room actually endangers the both of them via subconscious body language and the heighted state of awareness that Washington’s character’s presence has on the KKK members.

Once this random logical gap in the plot is overcome mentally, the rest of the movie falls into place quite nicely, and actually swells to an incredibly impactful ending. That being said, this gap is highly noticeable and slightly distracts from the overall plot and message.