Prime Video movie of the day: BlacKkKlansman is a powerful thriller – and a surprise Dolby Atmos showcase

John David Washington looks at the camera pensively in BlacKkKlansman
(Image credit: Universal Pictures)
Movie of the day

Every day, we cut through the bottomless list of streaming options and recommend something to watch. See all our Netflix movie of the day picks, or our Prime Video movie of the day choices.

Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman is a fascinating balance of sprawling crime epic and character-rich exploration of a moment in America's race history. John David Washington really broke out here as Ron Stallworth, the first Black officer in the Colorado Springs police force, who ends up infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan, and getting tied up in plans for a terror attack by its members. It's a gripping crime story, it's got a wry sense of humor, it's one of the best Prime Video movies… and it's also become a crucial part of my own testing process for the best Dolby Atmos soundbars, despite its generally low-key nature.

BLACKkKLANSMAN Trailer 1 (Universal Pictures) HD - YouTube BLACKkKLANSMAN Trailer 1 (Universal Pictures) HD - YouTube
Watch On

BlacKkKlansman follows Ron Stallworth, who is stuck in the records room at the Colorado Springs police department, and is a joke to the other officers. He wants to get into undercover work, and is given the chance when they need someone to infiltrate the primarily Black audience at a speech given by civil rights advocate Kwame Ture. After that, he gets the chance to work with the intelligence department, and ends up speaking to the president of the local KKK chapter over the phone, convincing him that he's a white man, and earning himself an invitation to meet and maybe become a member.

This will obviously be an issue for Stallworth, so he enlists Adam Driver's Flip Zimmerman, a Jewish cop from his department, to stand in for him in person. What follows is a stunningly tense descent into the bowels of the KKK, where Stallworth and Zimmerman have to keep their strange combined identity in order: Zimmerman must conceal his own ethnicity from the KKK, while Stallworth has to reconcile the way his status as an undercover Black police officer means he's dealing with prejudice from other police officers who don't know he's a cop and hiding his job from Black activists he's befriended.

Washington and Driver are both great, and as is usual with Spike Lee, it's a really good-looking film with impeccable editing that also contributes to the themes of the film just in how carefully and thoughtfully cuts to different characters and images are used.

The surprise Dolby Atmos demo scene is Kwame Ture's speech, which really lets you test the layered 3D elements of a sound system. People respond to the speech from the crowd, and in a really good system, these voices should feel like they're coming not just from around you, but at different levels of closeness to you, with convincing echo. Even in just a good Dolby Atmos soundbar that's in front of you, they should feel separated out from Kwame Ture's voice, layered to the back of the mix and off to the sides while he occupies the center.

Whether you want something to test your sound system or not, I think BlacKkKlansman is a great Prime Video crime thriller with more on its mind – and it delivers a powerful hit of modern imagery at the end to put an exclamation on everything.

You might also like…

Matt Bolton
Managing Editor, Entertainment

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Entertainment, meaning he's in charge of persuading our team of writers and reviewers to watch the latest TV shows and movies on gorgeous TVs and listen to fantastic speakers and headphones. It's a tough task, as you can imagine. Matt has over a decade of experience in tech publishing, and previously ran the TV & audio coverage for our colleagues at, and before that he edited T3 magazine. During his career, he's also contributed to places as varied as Creative Bloq, PC Gamer, PetsRadar, MacLife, and Edge. TV and movie nerdism is his speciality, and he goes to the cinema three times a week. He's always happy to explain the virtues of Dolby Vision over a drink, but he might need to use props, like he's explaining the offside rule.