. October 24, 2018. https://ivypanda.com/essays/critical-review-malcolm-x-by-spike-lee/. For full functionality of this site it is necessary to enable JavaScript. The film then jumps to the conclusion that it is these moderation that got him killed in the end. The movie becomes proper, well mannered and somber, like Malcolm's dark suits and narrow ties, as it dramatizes his rise in the Nation of Islam, founded by Elijah Muhammad. . Malcolm doubted it would be that simple. Mr. Lee has not been inhibited so much as simultaneously awe struck and hard pressed. The film goes on and on in a kind of reverential narrative monotone. Soon, Malcolm starts delivering rouding, inflammatory speeches promoting the cause of the Nation of Islam, railing against the white man while increasingly espousing Islamist views. Spike Lee's "Malcolm X" is one of the great screen biographies, celebrating the whole sweep of an American life that began in sorrow and bottomed out on the streets and in prison before its hero reinvented himself. There will be a time, later in Malcolm's life, when he will have a different answer to her question. This is an extraordinary life, and Spike Lee has told it in an extraordinary film. Theresa Randle Sophia . He was victimized by violence. . In a short time, the well-known civil rights activist became a favorite of the founder and leader of … Walking into "Malcolm X," I expected an angrier film than Spike Lee has made. Working with cinematographer Ernest Dickerson, Lee paints the early Harlem scenes in warm, sensuous colors, and then uses cold, institutional lighting for the scenes in prison. The generosity and the kindness he saw from Muslims while in the Middle East changed his views on change in America. It is revealing that even Martin Luther King Jr., seen in documentary footage making a statement about Malcolm's death, hardly seems overcome with grief. "Malcolm X" is rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned). IvyPanda. Malcolm X left prison in 1952 and moved to Detroit, where he turned up at his brother’s house. Mr. Washington not only looks the part, but he also has the psychological heft, the intelligence and the reserve to give the film the dramatic excitement that isn't always apparent in the screenplay. The film depicts this visual theme as the one recurring event which completely transformed Malcolm’s anti-white views, thus, helping him moderate his stance over the years. Any film that does his story justice would have to be complex and controversial, and Spike Lee's eponymous 1992 film, based on The Autobiography of Malcolm X and clocking in at 202 minutes, does not disappoint. The publication later that year of "The Autobiography of Malcolm X," his remarkably vivid testament written with Alex Haley, eventually consolidated his position as a great American folk hero, someone whose life speaks with uncanny pertinence to succeeding generations, white as well as black. In the film's view, a god has been recognized, then lost. Lee's films always have an underlying fairness, an objectivity that is sometimes overlooked. "What can I do to help?" Malcolm’s radical anti-white views underwent a slow transformation as he goes for a Hajj trip to Mecca. In many of the key moments in Malcolm's life as a public figure, the color photography is intercut with a black and white, quasi-documentary style that suggests how Malcolm's public image was being shaped and fixed. she asks. In the film’s sequence of events, it doesn’t take very long for Malcolm to develop a sudden dislike of Elijah after realizing his polygamous ways contradicted his own high moral ground. In prison, Malcolm experienced an epiphany, a vision by Elijah Muhammed which aimed to make him understand his role and purpose in life, to promote the deliverance of the black man against the “devil’s curse”. Taking the autobiography and a screenplay by Arnold Perl that was begun more than 20 years ago (Perl died in 1971), Spike Lee has attempted the impossible and almost brought it off. . IvyPanda. (2018, October 24). Louis Farrakhan, who succeeded Elijah Muhammad as the head of the Nation of Islam. They also don't do justice to the early experiences themselves, especially to Malcolm's time in a white foster home where he excelled in school and was encouraged by well-meaning adults who did not hesitate to refer to him as a "nigger.". His single word could have been the punch line for the scene, but Lee sees more deeply, and ends the scene with the hurt on the young woman's face. Ideas can be expressed only through a command of words. This film is rated PG-13. . One of his early jobs was as a Pullman porter, and then, in Harlem, he became a numbers runner and small-time gangster. Malcolm X. . . In conclusion, the movie successfully portrays the emotional drama surrounding Malcolm’s event-packed life, but to someone who has read the autobiographical novel, it comes across as a bit unconvincing and under-researched. Its hero was born Malcolm Little. This critical essay on Critical Review: Malcolm X by Spike Lee was written and submitted by your fellow student. There was never any in-between for the man who was initially called Malcolm Little, the son of a Nebraska preacher, and who, when he died, was known by his Muslim name, El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz. His mother was unable to support her children, and Malcolm was parceled out to a foster home. Here, the film beautifully narrates Malcolm’s observation that Muslims of all colors and creeds, gather in Islam’s holy ground to be united in universal brotherhood. Vaguely articulated feelings aren't enough. The moments of confrontational melodrama, something for which Mr. Lee has a particular gift, are quite consciously underplayed. . Spike Lee. Critical Review: Malcolm X by Spike Lee. His father was a minister who preached the beliefs of Marcus Garvey, the African-American leader who taught that white America would never accept black people and that their best hope lay in returning to Africa.

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