Blackkklansman (DVD) : Review

Film

Review

Based on actual events, an African American police officer, Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) from Coloroado Springs, goes under cover and successfully manages to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan branch with the help of a Jewish surrogate, Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver – Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi, Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens), who eventually becomes its leader.

While dealing with topics that can both strike a nerve, and insight anger, Blackkklansman gives equal showing to the racial hatred and tensions caused by both The KKK and Black Panthers. The filmmakers have put any political bias aside, and given a straight account of the deeds perpetrated by these groups. However, the film is about an African American detective, and how he takes down a white supremacist group, so the story does follow those events closer.

Coming from a talented cast, and team of filmmakers, Blackkklansman is both a show of talent, and an engrossing story. Director Spike Lee has delivered a story that spans the race and political lines, educating as well as entertaining. It is clear to see why the film garnered multiple award nominations, including the upcoming Oscars.

Re-watch Value

Being a both a true story, and one again racial hatred, one might have enough political rhetoric and viewing of extremist groups after one sitting, so the desire to watch the film subsequent times would certainly depend on the viewer tolerance to these topics.

Disc

Overall, the disc is of an average technical quality. The navigation menu is once again the same cryptic symbols and auto-switching from Next Entertainment, meaning one can not simply pop the disc into a player and walk away to get snacks, as the disc will navigate from sub-menu to main menu, and then autoplay the main feature. Forcing a viewer to do this is pretty poor design, so why they insist on this is something of a mystery.

Poor disc design aside, the main feature is pretty good, and enjoyable.

Blackkklansman is available now, to purchase on disc, in South Africa.

Video

Video is encoded at a medium average bitrate. The disc is a dual layer, and almost completely full, leaving only a small percentage of free space. This would likely also account for why there are so few included bonus features, and why those features are so short.

There are no visible artefacts on-screen, nor any visible colour bleed. Details in darker scenes remain good though.

Viewers should be able to scale up to a larger or higher resolution screen, should they wish.

Audio

Audio is presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, and encoded at a high average bitrate, with dialogue clear via the centre channel. The soundtrack relies heavily on the front channels, with very little use of the surround channels.

Navigation

The main menu on the disc has a static background, with poster image and accompanying music. Navigation is comprised of the usual cryptic symbols, and no text labels. Once in a sub-menu, the disc will return the viewer to the main menu after a minute. Once on the main menu, the disc will autoplay the main feature after just under a minute and a half.

The main menu has symbols to play the main feature, chapter selection, bonus features, audio language selection, and subtitle selection. The bonus features sub-menu also has accompanying background music.

The chapter selection sub-menus have four medium, colour, still thubmnails, for a total of twenty chapters. While these are numbered, they are not labelled, meaning that navigating to a particular point in the main feature would require some guesswork, so viewers might be better off using their own hardware or software to bookmark a favourite part of the film, or a place from which to resume viewing.

The bonus feature sub-menu has text links to each of the two included bonus features (detailed below).

The audio soundtrack selection sub-menu has text links to each of the available soundtracks, including English DVS (descriptive video service).

Lastly, the subtitle sub-menu has text links to each of the available subtitle languages, defaulting to no subtitles.

For viewers who might require some assistance decoding the symbols of the main navigation menu, a triangle is to play the main feature, book shape is chapters, asterisk symbol for bonus features, speaker icon for audio soundtrack, and square with lines for the subtitle menu.

Bonus Features

A Spike Lee Joint – Some behind the scenes footage, and some commentary by cast and crew, in this very short featurette. This was likely a short television spot before the original release of the film, but does provide a small amount of insight into the film and the making thereof.

Blackkklansman Extended Trailer Featuring Prince’s “Mary Don’t You Weep” – The film’s trailer, with the song by Prince, coming in at about the same length as the aforementioned “A Spike Lee Joint”.

There is also a trailer that autoplays at the beginning of the disc for Tales from the Hood 2, also by Spike Lee.

Packaging

The disc packaging is the standard DVD jewel case, with a poster on the front. The back has a short synopsis, a listing of bonus features, some stills from the main feature, and the usual technical information and symbols.

There are no package inserts in the case, such as chapter listing.

Published by Andrew Germishuys

Founder of SAMDB, Andrew has worked full time in the film industry since the early 2000's. He has trained as an actor, completing his LAMDA Gold Medal, and attending many courses in Cape Town acting studios, with masterclasses with some of the international industries top directors, producers and filmmakers. Working as an actor and armourer in the film and television industry have given Andrew a great balance of skills across the board when it comes to the entertainment industry. Catch him on Twitter: twitter.com/andrewgerm_za And IMDb: www.imdb.com/name/nm5390453/

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