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MALCOLM X, 1992
Movie Review

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MALCOLM X MOVIE POSTER
MALCOLM X, 1992
Movie Reviews

Directed by Spike Lee
Starring: Denzel Washington, Delroy Lindo, Angela Bassett, Al Freeman Jr, & Albert Hall
Review by Brian Last



SYNOPSIS:

The biopic of the controversial and influential Black Nationalist leader.

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REVIEW:Every filmmaker has their dream film, their chance to direct a great bio pic. A chance to tell a grand story about some of the most important figures in history. Oliver stone has told stories of Political figures such as George W. bush & Richard Nixon, not too mention his portrayal of the Kennedy assassination, the band the doors , and Alexander the Great. Scorcesse told the story of the Dali lama, Howard Hughes and boxer Jake LaMada. For Spike Lee there is no story more important to tell than the life of activist Malcolm X.

Based on the autobiography 'The autobiography of Malcolm X" written by Alex Haley, the film depicts his life in three sections. The first chapter is young Malcolm Little, growing up in Nebraska. A son of a preacher, subject to racism and violence. His father was murdered by the black legion, and on several occasions his home was vandalized then burned down. Racism tore his family apart and caused him to be cast aside and written off even as a child. The story continues to depict him as a hustler, junkie and prison inmate. It is in prison he meets a man

The second Chapter depicts his life as "Detroit Red". Set in Boston in the 40;s, he is a young man living life, dancing, drinking and fornicating with white women. However it is not the way he was born to. He put things in his hair to be able to slick it back, and shed the "nappy" hairstyle. He dresses in excessively bright and sharp clothes, and sports big pimp style hats to stand out. He gets in with a Harlem gangster West Indian Archie( Lindo). Malcolm becomes a junkie, and due to a falling out moves back to Boston with his friend Shorty played by Spike Lee. They get involved in robberies, and on one they get pinched and sent to prison. It is here where he meets a man who shows him in the ways of Islam. It is here where his feelings of black unity and anti anything that wasn't black were started.

Chapter two seamlessly goes into chapter three where Malcolm has since dropped the last name Little, because of it's slave tides and traded it in for the roman numeral X. Malcolm is on the streets with his Islam brethren passing out pamphlets and trying to spread the word. Through his tireless efforts he starts to gather an audience. He goes around cities teaching and preaching the ways of Islam and crediting his mentor Elijah Muhammad for the newfound knowledge. As Malcolm audience gets bigger and he gets more famous, the sharper his tongue gets, and the blinder he gets towards racism. He confuses Uniting all those who are black, and being proud to be black with black rage, and hatred to all who aren't. This causes a riff between the Church of Islam and Malcolm. It is at this time Malcolm takes a trip to clear his head and soul. Upon his arrival to Mecca, he sees people of all races embracing Islam and being together. This inspires him to draw back on his black extremism, while still pushing the black agenda, he starts his own hybrid of a place of prayer where all are welcome. By this point Malcolm had started to extend the olive branch to those leaders he had ridiculed. By this point he had made two many enemies, and it led to his demise while giving a final speech in Manhattan.

On IMDB the film is rated at a 7.7/10, and on rotten tomatoes the film has been given a rating of 93%. It also has won and been nominated for a slew of awards. There is a reason, this film is fantastic. While a slower paced film, Denzel is so electrifying and really drives the film. Spike often pushes the boundaries when it comes to race which is why he was the perfect person to capture Malcolm's passion, spirit, anger and soul, and for Denzel to portray him beautifully. It was such a well written script, and was cut in a way it didn't drag in spite of its three hour 21 minute run time. It was an epic tale to tell, and they did a great job of keeping in important details and not cramming it with filler. The footage of the real life Malcolm at the end with Ozzie Davis reading the eulogy he delivered at his funeral was moving and had me choked up.

This is one of Spike's best films, and one of the best of the 90's. The messages that it conveys are important and still hold true today. Humans have the capacity for change whether its politically, spiritually, physically It is in us. A truly brilliant, passionate and forceful film that will continue to be held in high regard for a long time.

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