Malcolm X 1992
Just as Do the Right Thing was the capstone of Spike Lee’s earlier career, Malcolm X marked the next milestone in the filmmaker’s artistic maturity. It seemed everything Lee had done up to that point was to prepare him for this epic biography of America’s fiery civil-rights leader, who is played by Oscar-nominated Denzel Washington, from his early days as a zoot-suited hustler known as “Detroit Red” to his spiritual maturity after his pilgrimage to Mecca, as a Black Muslim by the name of El Hajj Malik El Shabazz. Do the Right Thing climaxed with the photographic images of Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King engulfed by flames of rage; Malcolm X explores the genesis and evolution of that rage over Malcolm’s lifetime, and how these two great figures–held up to the public as polar-opposites within the African American human rights movement (King for nonviolent civil disobedience, Malcolm for achieving equality “by any means necessary”)–were each essential to the agenda of the other. Lee careens from the hedonistic ebullience of Malcolm’s early days to the stark despair of prison, from his life-changing conversion to Islam to his emergence as a dynamic political leader–all with an epic sweep and vitality that illuminates personal details as well as political ideology.
Director: Spike Lee
Writers: Alex Haley (book), Malcolm X (book)
Actors: Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett, Al Freeman Jr., Sonny Jim Gaines, Albert Hall
Run time : 202 Min.