Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Future Of Film
The 100 Greatest Video Games
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Kevin Feige:
My Movie Life

The Marvel supremo's pick of the flicks
Subscribe: Get 6 Issues For £15
Get Empire magazine today and save money!
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Denzel Washington
Angela Bassett
Albert Hall
Al Freeman Jr..
Directors
Spike Lee.
Screenwriters
Alex Haley
Arnold Perl
Spike Lee.
Running Time
202 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Honeymoon
3 Star Empire Rating
Last Impresario, The
3 Star Empire Rating
I Origins
4 Star Empire Rating
Soul Boys Of The Western World
4 Star Empire Rating
What We Did On Our Holiday
3 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Two Days, One Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Some Like It Hot
5 Star Empire Rating
A Hard Day's Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Boyhood
5 Star Empire Rating

Malcolm X


submit to reddit


Plot
The conversion of Malcolm Little from a low life crim to a racial activist.


Review
The movie that was supposed to cause such controversy in Middle America (even, if you will, to set cities a-burning) failed to do any such thing because director Spike Lee chose to tell the story of "the angriest black man in America" with such surprising restraint.

In fact, at times the film seems in danger of collapsing into the tedium of History Lecture For Beginners. That it never quite does is testament to the immensely powerful performance of Denzei Washington. The film comes in two lengthy acts. Act One is the story of Malcolm Little, jaunty wide-boy from Boston who wears flash clothes and takes white women and gallivants in dance halls and does drugs and ends up in chokey. This section, directed with flash and panache, a jazz-styled, colourful "romp" is, for want of a better term, the Entertainment.

Act Two, however, is the story of Malcolm X, the convert to the Nation of Islam who delivers harsh words to the white folk of America, a much more radical version of that nice Reverend King. This section, altogether more sombre as X casts away the gaudy togs and goes for grey hat and spectacles and dignified rage, is the Lesson.

Occasionally veering towards Made-For-TV- Biopic territory - especially in the scenes of Malcolm's visit to Egypt (don't the camels and the Pyramids look nice?) and pilgrimage to Mecca - one is kept upon one's toes by some fire of oration and the growing tension between Elijah Muhammed, leader of the Nation of Islam (Freeman Jnr., splendidly spooky), and his driven protege.

And while you know all along that Malcolm X is going to get shot to death, when it comes, it's still a shock. A pity, then, that Lee chooses to hammer home the Lesson by opening with footage of Rodney King's beating and closing with Nelson Mandela (who cannot act, alas) as a Soweto schoolmaster. Racism is a Bad Thing. Yes, I think we got that.


Verdict
Lee's film suffers from message over substance and is slightly tedious as a result.


Reviewed by Tom Hibbert

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for Malcolm X
Empire Star Rating

Amazing movie. Though, a little long. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by nc_jj at 03:56, 17 October 2008 | Report This Post


SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
The Future Of Film: Cinema Will Cross The Uncanny Valley
The future of VFX, from believable digital humans to underwater mocap

The Future Of Film: There Will Be Another Indie Golden Age
Independent producers are growing from micro-budgets to something a lot bigger

Empire's Epic Interstellar Subscribers' Cover
The countdown begins to Christopher Nolan's sci-fi masterpiece

The Future Of Film: Your Favourite Movie WIll Be Crowdfunded
Click here to donate

The Empire Podcast #128: Interviews With Sir Roger Moore And George MacKay
Plus we say goodbye to Richard Kiel and the British Expendables are assembled...

Shut Up, World! Gary Busey Is Talking!
Strap yourselves in and meet a true Hollywood original.

Classic Feature: Gods Among Us - Paul Newman
A cat so cool he makes Steve McQueen look geeky.

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)