I just recently re-watched Malcolm X (I was really young the first time I watched) and boy was I blown away. The first thing I have to say is that watching it really made me want to read his autobiography because I think the best parts of the movie are when Denzel read excerpts of Malcolm X’s own words. I mean would you rather hear the story as Spike Lee’s adaptation or the words directly from their author? But speaking of Denzel, he put on a magnificent performance that we’ve come to expect out of a Denzel movie. I think he even put a little Denzel into Malcolm X in the earlier scenes and especially in the one scene where it pans closer and closer to Denzel staring into the camera. Not to say that Malcolm X couldn’t have pulled that off, but it seemed real American Gangster.
The movie is kind of long (3 hours) but it is split into 3 major parts – pre-prison, post-prison with Elijah Muhammad, and then post-Nation of Islam. If you wanted you could probably skip the first hour and just start with the prison scenes because most of the first hour is what I think to be Spike Lee’s entertaining of the audience and showing how Malcolm X lied, cheated, fornicated, etc., etc.
The second two-thirds, though, is absolute gold. I can’t wait to read those parts in his book and absorb every little detail. The biggest things I came away with from them are I think 1. an understanding of how recent these events really were (like 60 years – that’s nothing) 2. the psychology of an oppressed population and how the Nation of Islam fed off of that 3. even more respect for Malcolm X and 4. more appreciation for the power of Hajj.
Tears began to well up when I saw how Malcolm X’s life was changed after going to Saudi Arabia and interacting with all those different types of people because I thought about how I was blessed enough Alhamdullilah (all thanks and praises are due to God) to go on that journey last year. God-willing I want to put up the travel journal I had going then to share with you all, but I just have to say now that I think seeing all those millions (yes, literally millions now) of people emigrating for such a holy purpose is probably the most inspiring thing I will ever see in my life. That said I’ve gone pretty off-topic, but for any of you who have not been to Mecca, I’m sure you, like me, can see how it brought just a drastic change to the life of Malcolm X.
I definitely recommend this movie, I guess I should give it a rating… hmm, I’d say an 8.8/10 (my only real complaint is the length.) I’ve started reading the book too so eventually God-willing I will write a bit about that too.