Malcolm X

D: Spike Lee
Warner Bros./Largo/Forty Acres & A Mule (Marvin Worth & Spike Lee)
US 1992
201 mins


W: Arnold Perl & Spike Lee [based on the book "The Autobiography of Malcolm X"]
DP: Ernest Dickerson
Ed: Barry Alexander Brown
Mus: Terence Blanchard
PD: Wynn Thomas
Cos: Ruth E. Carter

Denzel Washington (Malcolm X), Angela Bassett (Betty Shabazz), Albert Hall (Baines), Al Freeman, Jr. (Elijah Muhammed), Delroy Lindo (Archie), Spike Lee (Shorty), Theresa Randle (Laura), Kate Vernon (Sophia), Lonette McKee (Louise Little), Tommy Hollis (Earl Little)

Spike Lee's biopic of the civil rights activist feels like an overlong tirade rather than a focused study on the turbulent life and violent death of one of the mid-20th century's key iconic figures.
Denzel Washington delivers an electrifyingly powerful performance, but at a bum-numbingly 201 minutes it's far too much to ingest in one sitting. Understandably, the figure was one of Spike Lee's biggest influences, but surely big plot points could have been covered and the superfluous moments could have been truncated.

Delroy Lindo & Denzel Washington in Malcolm X
Delroy Lindo & Denzel Washington in Malcolm X