Until today I had never before seen MALCOLM X, but as a film buff, I’ve always felt like it was a movie that I definitely had to see. I knew the story from school and such, but I never knew it quite like this. Spike Lee’s adaptation takes such an honest look into this man’s life and not just the part that everyone is familiar with. Lee goes back and gives us a complete account of Malcolm’s life from birth to his untimely death and tells it in such a unique fashion, unlike any historical docu-drama has done before.
I only had minor issues with the movie, which I’m sure for the most part can be blamed on budgets and time constraints. My complaints were just that so much is crammed into the film that the timelines become very muddled. I don’t think it was really an option when the film was being created back in 1991, but I personally believe that this movie might’ve made a better mini-series for TV. Like I said, there was just so much crammed in and I felt like the timelines would’ve perhaps been better established and certain parts of Malcolm’s timeline could’ve been better explored with a network like HBO backing it.
One other problem that I personally had with the film was several of Malcolm’s beliefs. Occasionally, I felt like he really was a brainwashed cultist. He had the right ideals and drive to get his message across to people, but he just had a really warped mentality about how to achieve what he wanted to achieve. It made it hard for me to really get into the film and to really embrace his incredible story.
However, my personal feelings on the film aside, it’s truly a cinematic masterpiece and in addition, everything in the film from the directing, the writing, casting, costumes, soundtrack and acting are all absolutely top-notch.
The next feature is By Any Means Necessary: The Making Of MALCOLM X, which is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a feature that goes behind the scenes of the Spike Lee film. It discusses how the film’s finances and how Lee helped get the film pushed through despite many setbacks. Martin Scorsese gets interviewed and gives his two cents on making a film that a filmmaker feels the need to make. And then Spike Lee brings up how he came to be the films director in the first place and how he wrote the screenplay for it. Various other cast and crewmembers provide interviews and give insight into their roles in bringing the movie into existence.
We then have some Deleted Scenes, which Spike Lee gives individual introductions for. The scenes aren’t bad, but they’re cut out for one reason or another. Truthfully, with the movie being as long as it is, I feel like these would only be good for the die-hard fans of this film. It would be interesting to see Lee add these into a Director’s Cut of the film instead of having this feature.
The last feature that is included in this Blu-ray is the 1972 MALCOLM X Documentary, which obviously takes a look at the real Malcolm and his life with footage, interviews and all that jazz.