Incredibly, this is the first Spike Lee film I've ever reviewed on this site, after 19 years; I believe 1995's Clockers was the last Lee "joint" that I caught in theaters. (I have since seen a few on video.) Ergo, a meager online review by a little-known filmmaker and amateur critic – that is, me – is a testament to BlacKkKlansman's status as Lee's comeback.

Based on true events, BlacKkKlansman does exactly what it says on the tin: it tells the story of Ron Stallworth (newcomer John David Washington, son of Denzel), the first African-American police officer in Colorado Springs, who in 1978 decided to call up the Ku Klux Klan and become a member, in order to find out if they were up to anything dangerous. Since his race would be an instant giveaway in person, he sent a white colleague (here a fictitious character played by Adam Driver) in his place whenever the KKK wanted to meet up.

Spike Lee being Spike Lee, the often hilarious absurdity of Stallworth's investigation is counterbalanced by several overtly political forays, including some unsubtle jabs at Donald Trump (even though the story takes place long before Trump's ascendance). You may roll your eyes, but then you remember whose film you're watching, and you just go with it.

At 135 minutes, BlacKkKlansman does drag at times. It could have been a half hour shorter. But it's still an interesting film, with a few suspenseful scenes and fine performances all around. (Topher Grace has a funny and authentic turn as David Duke, the KKK's surprisingly dweeby Grand Wizard. In fact, the scenes with Duke are nearly the only ones in the film that are true to life; the rest is pure fiction, with characters and situations invented out of whole cloth.) Finally, Terence Blanchard's score, even if it's mostly just one theme repeated ad infinitum, is magnificent.