Jeff's Reviews

Thoughts on every movie I've ever seen.

Malcolm X (1992)

Directed by Spike Lee

Starring Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett, Delroy Lindo, Spike Lee

Author

The fascinating story more than justified the length of this movie, and you don’t say that about many movies over 3 hours. It just shows the fact that longer movies (like this one) are necessary to tell a true, complete story. It’s too bad America doesn’t have the patience for movies of this length.

Nice build dramatically. The movie grows with the individual, revealing all his emoptions before and after his rise to fame. Was Denzel considered for Best Actor? One of his best performances. He’s got such a small head for his body.

The dance sequence was a tad long, but OK. A musical interlude. This is when you go to the bathroom. Saw the same prison box scene in Shawshank Redemption. Once again we see collective gun-loading in a silent room. The calm before the storm.

The story is only outdone by the way it is told. Great flavor. It’s an excellent, practically flawless piece of cinematography on a very interesting man, with just the right amount of surreality to embellish the narrative (not overdone as in Philadelphia). Neat use of different film stocks and footage, a cool way to trace history. Nice documentary look at times. No excessive close-ups, used only when necessary. Nice time jumps and metaphorical splices. Rubbing pie in the face, same awesome dream-cut as in True Lies. The flanger with clapping at assassination was awesome. I enjoyed this movie even more in the second viewing. Just a very well-made film.

One of the best moments was the junction of past with present at the end of the movie. The clip with Nelson Mandela brought an eerie sense of reality to the story that had just been told. That Rodney King footage is dumb, though.

Malcolm X is less fictional narration, and more realistic, documented history. And not to many expository histories are too interesting enough for a feature film, much less a three-hour one.

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