Spike Lee directs Denzel Washington, Delroy Lindo and himself in this biography of the assassinated black activist, following his journey from vain hustler to target for the FBI and Nation of Islam.
I remember Malcolm X being released vividly. I remember everyone at school wearing branded X baseball caps, I remember Spike Lee telling all black children to bunk off school on opening day. To my knowledge no one from my West London secondary did but we sure all looked cool in them caps. The film itself was too unwieldy for teenagers who lived in an environment of inclusivity. But it has matured with me. It is a brilliant film. All of Lee’s trademark shots are played effectively. The rise and fall narrative gives way to some beautifully recreated speeches by Washington, his oratory is magnificent. The final day of Malcolm X is explored with a heartbreaking patience, the impending tragedy is palpable while avoiding cliche. It is a monument that grows in stature with every decade. One of Lee’s and Washington’s finest works.