Quantcast

BlacKkKlansman (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

Spike Lee’s first foray into the 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray format obviously comes with his latest film, BlacKkKlansman. And its a tremendous pick as he delivered one of his all-time best films this year. Its a film that tells an unbelievably true story of infiltrating and humiliating America’s most despicable hate group. While the film is sadly timely and is very prescient for our times, its also wildly entertaining, educational procedural with suspense and tasteful comedic elements. The release seems pretty light on extras, but at least its carrying a nice Dolby Atmos track to tell the story. You’ll be able to pick this one up on November 6th, giving you ample time to watch it before it (Hopefully) makes some noise with Academy nominations. Pre-order using the Amazon link below.

Film 

From visionary filmmaker Spike Lee comes the incredible true story of an American hero. It’s the early 1970s, and Ron Stallworth is the first African-American detective to serve in the Colorado Springs Police Department. Determined to make a name for himself, Stallworth bravely sets out on a dangerous mission: infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan. The young detective soon recruits a more seasoned colleague, Flip Zimmerman, into the undercover investigation of a lifetime. Together, they team up to take down the extremist hate group as the organization aims to sanitize its violent rhetoric to appeal to the mainstream.

Spike Lee sees one of his finest hours in BlacKkKlansman. Its a film only he could do right, making another masterpiece to add to his catalog. It’s a film that bends and weaves through many genres while confidently being itself through and through. As much as you may laugh and enjoy the silliness at one turn, you’ll find yourself utterly horrified in others. It takes a special person to craft an exercise like this, and Spike Lee is one of few who could own up to the task.

His film is one of America’s past, but the scary part is how much of a reflection it is on America’s present. There are keywords, moments, characters and emotions that happen in the film that you’ll become shocked to the self-realization that we have not come as far as we may have once thought. And the fact that things have gone straight backward in the past few years is put on display front and center in the film. It unapologetically goes for the jugular while telling a bit of a silly circumstance based on a true event with a charming lead taking on clown-like foils. I say clown-like, but let’s be real folks, this more honest than comedic. This is how stupid these hate worshipers actually are.

Our cast in the film hits perfectly on every character. John David Washington provides such a unique screen presence that there’s really no one like him here. May he nab “all the roles” after this film receives its due accolades later on. He’s got some great fire with Laura Harrier who continues to grow and impress, who jumps from Spider-Man right to this more challenging territory. My personal favorite is Topher Grace’s David Duke. There’s such a devout honesty and conviction in Grace’s performance that just lets the ridiculousness play for itself. He doesn’t need to bait for laughs or for hate, it just naturally will play itself out. And yeah, we all know how good Adam Driver always is in everything. That goes without saying. I was particularly impressed with Ryan Eggold as he’s something I didn’t think too much of before (From The Blacklist), but he’s mighty impressive and calmly sinister here (Though no real threat to our lead).

Every year there’s a film or films that will get labeled “If you see only one movie this year”, so to be cliche, BlacKkKlansman deserves that qualification. You’ll run through a whole sea of emotions while watching the film (I forgot to mention the terrific suspense on display), and hopefully come out with a better, more focused head on your shoulders. Sometimes that filthy mirror needs to be thrust up in front of people in order to make a difference. And I hope BlacKkKlansman can be that different to some people I would wager that its no coincidence that the film is coming out on election day in what is being deemed one of the most important mid-term elections in a long while. And remember that every election is important. Vote, always.

Video 

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (216op)

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Layers: BD-100

Clarity/Detail: BlacKkKlansman is a native 4K Ultra-HD title being shot on film and finished with a 4K digital intermediate. And man, does it look rich. There is a lot of detail and classic, rustic look to things. The office furniture and wood in this film just look great. An odd observation, I know. You also see a good crispness to the image and a full, free picture that feels spacious and organic.

Depth:  There is a good depth of field on display in the film. Movements are natural and cinematic in appearance. No distortions present.

Black Levels: Blacks are natural and the absolute highlight of this transfer. The saturation is terrific and the ability to hold on to information for a highly refined and detailed presentation in every frame is great. Also, just some of the darkest moments coming out so natural look wonderful.

Color Reproduction: Colors are very full and strong. Much of this is a natural looking film, but certain shirts worn will really pop with a bold appeal. Adam Driver wears a red flannel at one point that just roars off the screen. HDR is pretty much glowing with tail lights, fire, lanterns and anywhere things are natural.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish. It looks flush and full. Features like make-up, pores, lip texture, stubble, moles, freckles and more come through pretty clear from any reasonable distance.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos (English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD compatible), Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

Dynamics: At first glance, BlacKkKlansman doesn’t seem like a film that would be commanding for an Atmos track. However, this is one of the BEST mixed audio tracks of the year and goes to full effect here. Things are well thought out and it isn’t afraid to have fun and toy around for good punch. Effects are mixed all over the map. A phone may ring and cause a jolt. It could come from above to the side or just command the room. Music is pretty loud here and I actually had to turn this one DOWN a couple notches from my normal volume setting. Its an outstanding mix and one of the best of the year.

Height: From the start of the movie, the film plays with your overhead. At many points, voices can be heard well from above and its pretty neat. While you wouldn’t think this would be a movie to take full advantage of the ceiling speaker, its one of the best at it and has a load of fun doing so.

Low Frequency Extension: The subwoofer is not afraid to hit hard and punch with musical beats, loud crowds, explosions, gunfire, truck engines and more.

Surround Sound Presentation: The room sweeps around and rolls with sound motion and crowds shouting things from all angles. This is a well pieced together mix and much more intricate and “going for it” than one would expect.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp. Some are intentionally jacked up high in the mix via a voice over or something else for good effect.

Extras 

BlacKkKlansman comes with the standard Blu-ray edition and a digital copy of the film.

A Spike Lee Joint (HD, 5:09) – Producer Jordan Peele, cast and film subject Ron Stallworth discuss the unique experience of working with iconic director Spike Lee.

BlacKkKlansman Extended Trailer Featuring Prince’s “Mary Don’t You Weep” (HD, 4:29)

Summary

BlacKkKlansman is hands down a film that argues to be the year’s best. And I can’t imagine a Top 10 list I make next month that doesn’t include it. Its 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray debut makes its case heard loud and clear. While extras are absolutely and frustratingly bare, the presentation of the film is TOP NOTCH. And the film itself is strong enough to warrant a purchase of the highest quality format the second it hits the shelf.

Share

Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

  1. No Comments