Malcolm X (1992) Film Review

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Spike Lee released the film, Malcolm X in 1992, a biographical story about the African- American controversial figure during the Civil Right Movement. Malcolm undergoes three significant conversions in his life. The first portion of the film depicts Malcolm’s childhood through flashbacks and his teenage years as he strived to emulate a white man and gain acceptance to their society. The majority of the film is dedicated to his life after prison, portraying the transformation made once he discovers the Islamic faith through Bain, as well as his role as an activist in the Civil Rights Movement and his ultimate character as an extremist. The film Malcolm X incorporates the significance of the Muslim faith, portraying many of the positive aspects of the religion and some stereotypical behaviors, however, the emphasis on the mistreatment of African- Americans and battle for Civil Rights takes precedence. The opening scene to Malcolm X is powerful, dramatic and significant in several respects including setting the tone for the movie, foreshadowing the character Malcolm develops into and establishing the underlying message of the film, a call for African- American’s to unite and fight for equality. The first image to appear is an American flag with the clash of symbols then Malcolm’s “I charge the white man” speech. As he speaks, a clip of the Rodney King incident, in which two white police officers excessively beat him in the streets of Los Angeles, is shown. This event occurred months before the release of the film and was intentional by Lee who stated, “It made perfect sense to me to begin this movie with this brutal beating of a man just because he was black…It fit.” He even screened the film to Warner Bros for the first time on the day of the uprising in L.A. The director is clear in his intention’s to relay the message of mistreatment of African- Americans and sets the tone for a violent and extreme movie, especially with the final image of the burning of the...
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