A Filmmaker's Review: "Who Killed Malcolm X" (Netflix, 2020)
5/5 - An amazing biography of one of the greatest activists in human history
Malcolm X is one of my favourite people in all of human history, I absolutely love the guy to bits. He is an intelligent and amazing figurehead of a movement I wholeheartedly support. He is a man who began a movement that has rippled on straight into our own time and this documentary represents why, on the whole being that he was so powerful and good at what he did, he was ultimately assassinated.
In the first episode(s), this documentary establishes what it has aimed to do which is find out who really orchestrated the death of Malcolm X. On the whole, it does just that. It is telling the story of Malcolm X whilst also giving you guidance into why the FBI was following him and why people were sent to spy on him at every single movement he was at and in every single aspect of his life. Wire-tapping etc. was only the beginning of it all. You are passed between the FBI, the Nation of Islam, the people who didn't like him and the deferrers from him.
The image of Malcolm X is kind of like a cult figure of the race war. He is a brilliant human being and is presented as a man with a point to make and he was not going to stop until his point was not only made but he wouldn't sleep until every single person in the USA heard his point. He is a man who was practically kicked around by every single powerful organisation imaginable and yet, still managed to get up and do his rallies. He still managed to make it big and get his point across.
There are various videos and images of Malcolm X as a man and as a figure. There are interviews and particular moments, for example in Ep.4 in which Malcolm X talks about the Nation of Islam leader being a pedophile - and this is described as the breaking point between the Nation of Islam and Malcolm X.
There are various instances where the documentary is trying to make Malcolm X look like nothing more than a human being who was gaining more and more well-respected in the community of race war and so, for the Nation of Islam, this was threatening. It was also threatening for the FBI for which whom Malcolm X was the most wire-tapped person in the USA. It explains how much J Edgar Hoover hated the movement and some people in the documentary call him a 'horrid man', by which I agree with. J Edgar Hoover seems like a vile and an incredibly racist human being.
There are interviews with people who saw Malcolm X and people who were at the rally at which he was assassinated. There are also people who were a part of the Nation of Islam at the same time, there were also interviews with people who knew Malcolm X and knew the Nation of Islam. Finally, and most incredibly, there are interviews with some officers who were put on the case of Malcolm X back in the 60s, they were sent to follow him, tap his phone calls, etc.
There are many different interviews in which there are many different opinions on Malcolm X and his work. There are people who love him, people who hate him, people who knew him and saw him, people who spoke to him and discussed with him, people who saw his killing, people who followed him around. There is so much information on Malcolm X from so many different directions. Personally, I adore Malcolm X, I absolutely love the guy. I read his works on a regular basis, I have shirts with him on it and I'm in the process of getting some wall art with Malcolm X quotes on it. I think that he was very unfairly treated.
I think the sheer amount of information and the way the documentary series is presented to us is pretty amazing and the way in which it is constructed with various interviews adds a lot of intensity and authenticity to it. I think that this would be very successful in order to do about many other activists like Sam Cooke, Medgar Evers, Dr. MLK Jr. and others. It is a brilliant way to do things and this one will always be my personal favourite because its about a man I will eternally respect and love.
In conclusion, there is a great amount of analysis through people, newspapers and official documents from the Nation of Islam and the FBI. There is a plethora of information and an intense amount of leads and followings that can be seen. Finally, there are videos, pictures, interviews and other things amongst them. It is a documentary worth watching, something worth learning and if you're a Malcolm X super-fan like me, it is an amazing thing to see unfold. It's been just over 50 years since Malcolm X died and people still care about it. That's an incredible amount of power.