Anyone that has ever read the Malcolm X biography, one of the best pieces of literature (true biography or not) of the 20th century, knows how disappointing Spike Lee's film interpretation is. The actors are miscast and perform as if they were on a stage, not in front of a camera. Denzel Washinton is just way too soft to ever prove a convincing role of an angst ridden Malcolm X. He looks like he spent his teens in a spa in LA, not on the streets of Boston/Harlem. The acting falls flat in so many of the beginning gangster scenes it becomes laughable. Samuel L. Jackson would have proved to be a much more believable Malcolm X, not for his similar looks, but for the true anger he is able to possess on film.
Spike Lee relies heavily on the format of overly produced Hollywood Films, and the genius he once had becomes lost with the availability of a large budget. The film reads more like the Warren Beatty/Madonna film "Bugsy" with saturated ridiculous costumes that try hard to convey a sense of time and place, close up shots of under-directed actors spouting an overly dramatized script, and people that look more like cartoon characters than complex individuals. This movie overly romanticizes the story of Malcolm X, making him seem more like a superhero than a deeply complex human being who had been diagnosed schizophrenic.
And where was Alex Haley?
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4 years ago