Malcolm X
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Writer-director Spike Lee's epic portrayal of the life and times of the slain civil rights leader Malcolm X begins with the cross-cut imagery of the police beating of black motorist Rodney King juxtaposed with an American flag burning into the shape of the letter X. When the film's narrative begins moments later, it jumps back to World War II-era Boston, where Malcolm Little (Denzel Washington) is making his living as a hustler. The son of a Baptist preacher who was murdered by the Ku Klux Klan, Little was raised by foster parents after his mother was deemed clinically insane; as an… More
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© Warner Bros.

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Spike Lee has made a disappointingly conventional and sluggish film in Malcolm X."
‑ Todd McCarthy, Variety
"Lee sketches Malcolm's life colorfully, if by the numbers. But he falls victim to the danger of movie biography: he elevates Malcolm's importance until the vital historical context is obscured."
‑ Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine
"Spike Lee called 1992's Malcolm X "the picture I was born to make," and star Denzel Washington referred to the titular civil-rights leader as "the role of a lifetime." They're both right...[Blu-ray]"
‑ Peter Canavese, Groucho Reviews
"Lee's film suffers from message over substance and is slightly tedious as a result."
‑ Tom Hibbert, Empire Magazine
"a thoughtful and insightful rendering that promises to educate generations about the real Malcolm X"
‑ John A. Nesbit, Old School Reviews
"Benefits from a lively lead performance by the miscast Denzel Washington but doesn't come within light years of the book, one of the greatest American autobiographies."
‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"It plays surprisingly safe as a solidly crafted trawl through the didactic/hagiographic conventions of the mainstream biopic."
‑ Derek Adams, Time Out
"The perfect combination of epic and personal, intimate and spectacular."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"Visually and dramatically, Lee pulls out all the stops, but it's Washington's performance that really energizes the film, and he's an exhilarating presence throughout."
‑ Jon Fortgang, Film4
"In the leading man category, Denzel Washington in Malcolm X managed to deliver the best performance of the decade."
‑ Matt Brunson, Creative Loafing
"Lee and company have performed a powerful service: they have brought Malcolm X very much to life again, both as man and myth."
‑ David Ansen, Newsweek
"An ambitious, tough, seriously considered biographical film that, with honor, eludes easy characterization."
‑ Vincent Canby, New York Times
"Insightful and well-rounded portrait of Malcolm X."
‑ Scott G. Mignola, Common Sense Media
"Lamoclm X may seem conventional by Spike Lee's standards, but as a biopic of a controversial historical figure, it's superior to the nobility of spirit of a movie like Gandhi, for example, and Attenborough's high-mindedness."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"This is undoubtedly the way Spike Lee should have done it; nothing flashy. He lets the main character's life speak for itself."
‑ John J. Puccio, Movie Metropolis
More reviews for Malcolm X on Rotten Tomatoes

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