Malcolm X and Spike Lee Pushing the Limits
In 1992, director Spike Lee combined his artistic vision with historical events to create the controversial and much hyped film Malcolm X, a biographical and historical account of the slain civil rights leader. Staring as Malcolm X was Denzel Washington who has been noted that this was his best role in a movie to date. As controversial as the flesh and blood Malcolm X was in life, so was the film version of his life as depicted by Lee. Lee made sure to not make the film just based on entertainment purposes as he focused on Malcolm X’s life and achievements by depicting actual events into his movie. Furthermore, Spike Lee tells the story of a not always likable, sometimes reluctant man. He shows Malcolm X as a man who is constantly learning and developing his ideas. Instead of depicting Malcolm X as an unlikeable man, Lee tries to show different sides of Malcolm X and that people (Malcolm X) can change and grow from who they once were. In retrospect, it would seem that Malcolm X represented the exact opposite of the peaceful protests advocated by his contemporary, Martin Luther King, Jr. An example of this is shown in the movie through Malcolm X’s speeches and actions that he thought violence was the only way that the conditions would change between the whites. In viewing the film, one can see that Spike Lee, from the start, was not going to take the safe route in the direction of this motion picture. It was easy to tell in the beginning of Lee’s film that the classification of Malcolm X’s times in life and the period of discrimination were accurate in the movie. The opening credits featured an American flag slowly being consumed by flames and burning to ashes. This is symbolic not only of the nation in turmoil which Malcolm X preached the idea of racial equality. But also as a symbol of a place where people in the wrong position, such as African-Americans faced with prejudice, hatred and worse, could literally and...
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