Malcolm X (1992) - Biography, Drama, History

Hohum Score



Biographical epic of the controversial and influential Black Nationalist leader, from his early life and career as a small-time gangster, to his ministry as a member of the Nation of Islam.

IMDB: 7.7
Director: Spike Lee
Stars: Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett
Length: 202 Minutes
PG Rating: PG-13
Reviews: 22 out of 174 found boring (12.64%)

One-line Reviews (99)

It is superbly paced - at running time 3 h 17 min it barely dragged and was involving from start till finish.

A fascinating life is given a closer work in this brilliant work by Spike Lee.

It is quite confusing in the first 20 minutes.


Also, it gets repetitive towards the end, trying (to my mind) to state too obvious things to the audience.

The build up to the movie is slow and it takes nearly 1 hour for the movie to actually take hold of one's attention.

Instead, Lee uses everything else in his arsenal to tell this compelling story.

But unlike those movies, the first hour of "Malcolm X" is so slow it might as well be playing in reverse.

Some of the political viewpoints espoused are questionable to say the least but, ultimately, a compelling case is made for Malcolm X as a positive influence on civil rights.

Malcolm X, though noticeably affecting to American audiences, is not so much a stirring biopic as, say, "Andrei Rublev" (1966), or structurally innovative as Paul Schrader's "Mishima" (1985), or as crisp as Fincher's "Zodiac" (2007), but it is a fairly respectable work, held up by its ceaselessly fascinating subject.

As a biography however, which is supposed to tell you the truth about a person, I think it's simply a piece of blatant propaganda.

It just leaves you hanging on the edge of your seat.

The only thing equally as superb as Washington's acting is the directing and the script, which is at once honest and compelling.

Although this is clearly not Spike Lee's best film which is without doubt the brilliant "Do The Right Thing", Malcolm X is an engrossing film which manages to captivate you for three hours.

The movie opens with an unexpected gangster feel where Malcolm, a youthful looking Denzel Washington, is a small time hoodlum in an elegant zoot suit, with his inseparable friend and occasional hairdresser, Shorty, played by Spike Lee, together, they drink, they dance and seduce white women.

For me though at 202 long minutes, this film is too dragged out and warranted tighter editing.

I had to watch this tedious bio-pic as part of an assignment for a sociology class and write an analysis of it.

Although in the middle act, it dragged on too long with some scenes of Malcolm's speeches that were repetitive, overall a very worthwhile experience.

Then in the final scene Spike Lee serves up a "I'm Malcom X" scene which wouldn't have looked out of place in a Stalinist propaganda film.

Director Spike Lee dives into a fascinating historical figure with the great Denzel Washington.

An excellent film that everyone should see--it is fascinating from start to finish.

I remember that tall, intense, lean man striding to the microphone and beginning with, "Brothers, friends...

With a runtime of over three hours, the script provides us with a story that's engrossing enough to captivate our attention from beginning to end.

In general it was too long and was very slow to start.

And the ending is very very drawn out.

And in that sense, this film is very enjoyable, historically accurate and heck, it is quite moving too.

The film does go slow at a few parts near the middle and the end.

Once he reaches the point where he has become a target of the general public as well as the Nation of Islam, Lee uses low key lighting to produce shadows on the characters and their surroundings, making each scene more suspenseful leading up to Malcolm X's death.

Breathtaking .

If anything, the openness to showing multiple sides of the man makes the film all the more intriguing.

A stunning performance by Denzel Washington (Oscar-nominated) carries this film literally into cinematic excellence.

Even though much is covered in the film, it got boring.

The intense natural lighting with the darks, reflects Malcolm's mood as he is lost in life and wonders what is next in life for him.

The pacing is a little slow at times.

There's two ways to look at this movie: as an entertaining evening filler, a roller-coaster of a movie, it's very successful -- strange, and no mean feat, for a biopic about a radical black leader from yesteryear.

After being dead for more than twenty years, he has been brought back by a stunning and electrifying performance by Denzel Washington.

Although long winded, it's still very entertaining with Albert Hall and Al Freeman Jr. in stand out supporting roles.

Right from the opening credits in which an American flag slowly burns to form a letter 'X', this biography of the title human rights activist from Spike Lee is riveting viewing throughout.

Denzel deserves all kind of honor for a stunning performance as always....

Overall, I think that "Malcolm X" is a fascinating epic character study in the tradition of "Lawrence of Arabia".

But what makes this movie great is that is very entertaining picture.

I watched it about 8 years ago without much knowledge of the person, and still enjoyed it.

After the first hour, I thought I'd have another borefest to sit through.

I highly recommend it for anyone who is trying to understand who Malcolm was and why he and his followers acted as they did.

Do you know what the most boring movie I've seen is?

While it was interesting, it felt disjointed from the rest of movie and was distracting.

Mainly, the beginning is way too long and looks like it was shot for a different movie.

Regardless of your opinion of the man, his life makes for a fascinating subject as we trace his early years as a criminal, his time with the Nation of Islam and his acrimonious break from that group, culminating in his violent death.

Intelligent, though provoking, and (perhaps most shockingly) very entertaining, the film is structurally and dramatically cohesive as well.

This film is long, repetitious and often tedious.

The story is compelling as well, although naturally it fits more to Malcom X's interpretation of historical events.

Some of the most intense and profound scenes include (spoiler ahead): Malcolm X getting an innocent man out of prison and the trip to Mecca, where he received a revelation that all whites are not "devils.

This movie was a fascinating view of how a person can change colors, while always still doing the right thing according to their convictions.

Malcolm's transformation into a Muslim is very intriguing through the movie.

The movie is somewhat disjointed at times.

Bad pacing, very badly conceived flashback scenes and a very very tedious plot.

Thoroughly enjoyed it!

Engrossing effort from Spike Lee .

The second time, I read the autobiography first, then re-watched the movie, and really enjoyed it.

Before Spike Lee, writers like myself loved to juxtapose the careers of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King for insights and enlightenment and fascinating parallels can be drawn between these two iconic leaders.

Engrossing, detailed and fearless biopic .

It will teach you of the interesting and honorable life of Malcolm X, while also entertaining you.

Malcolm X is a great movie and I would highly recommend it.

Dull/darker colors, up- tempo jazz music in the background are just to name a few.

Utterly engaging central performance by Washington.

Many of his signature items are here, and frankly they are becoming tiresome to me.

Having said that, I really felt that this movie provided an insight into the life and growth of a truly fascinating man, who was brought to life superbly by Denzel Washington.

For instance, the movie opens with a full-screen shot of an American flag while we hear a voice-over of one of Malcolm's most rousing, or inflammatory speeches, depending on how you look at it ("I accuse the white man of being the greatest murderer on the planet!

I suppose the soundtrack helped that scene, but both Washington and Freeman Jr. were breathtaking there.

The only time the viewers get a hint of the reality of Malcolm's actual past is when Lee cuts to choppy, fast, and somewhat confusing scenes flashback scenes.

But after awhile, even his role in politics gets dull.

This story was a fascinating view with strong acting by Denzel.

disjointed .

Exciting and Dynamic Biopic.

"American Hustle" was so boring to me, I thought I'd fallen asleep twice while watching it, and it was shorter than "Malcolm X".

Never to mind, the film is engaging the whole way through, regardless of how one views the title character, with nary a boring moment to be had - which is a quite remarkable achievement for a that film clocks in at over three hours in length.

Denzel Washington is a swell, pure gold actor, he can save and grace any movie he is in, and yes, he is great here, but this endless, unimaginable 3 hour and a half mammoth kills all his endeavors and assets burying them under a lead stone sheet of pretentiousness, boredom, and what is the worst offender, a very heavyweight preachy tone which becomes more and more acidic sour and then simply makes you cringe and run for some lightweight family comedy.

fascinating figure from a great actor .

His low-budget films are usually watchable, but ultimately too self-indulgent to really hit the mark completely.

This is irresponsible, manipulative, self-indulgent film-making on a scale equal to "Birth of a Nation" as it rewrites history in an all too convincing manner.

But to directly take on the life of one of the most combative personalities in American history, don't pull any punches about his criminal past or controversial views, *and* manage to make something amazingly informative *and* entertaining...

All jokes aside though, the last 2/3 of the movie saves this from utter boredom.

An entertaining biopic .

" This film is a fine but flawed work which creates a confusing and often confused picture of a very complex man.

There are also a number of clever black and white footages that, when shot, bore so close a resemblance to the newsreels some of us grew up with, they become difficult to tell from the originals.

Malcolm X also benefits from a well paced story that becomes more engaging with every minute.

This is marked by strong performances throughout with powerful direction by Spike Lee,cimematopgrapher Ernest Dickerson,and riveting breathtaking performances by Denzel Washington,Angela Bassett,and most notably from Al Freeman,Jr.

Looking back on it, I don't know that there is any one scene you could take out and it would still be the same, but three and a half hours is just way to long to be watching a movie that slow.

Substance wise, the film is too long - Lee did not allow the editors to be as ruthless as he should have been.

The varied cinematography of Ernest Dickerson and the evocative score by Terence Blanchard (both frequent collaborators of Lee's) were important contributions in this vein.

Malcolm X, I wrote a paper on him for my political science class and this man, even though I didn't agree with most of his views, he was a very fascinating man.

A stunning performance by Denzel Washington (Oscar-nominated) carries this film literally into cinematic excellence.

If you're used to hearing the usual defensive and emotionalist tripe: "He was a black hate monger and terrorist - the polar opposite of Martin Luther King," this film renders a compelling illustration of Malcolm X's personal motivations which shed a different light on the man and ring a lot more credible.

This film is a little too long and a scene or two in the beginning dragged on for a bit.

As Muslim I was also provided by an unexpected message.

For example, I personally think that the first act in reenacting the story of young Malcolm, with all the ‘Jitterbug' dancing, the love scene on the beach, and supporting characters like ‘Shorty' (played by Spike Lee himself), felt some what contrived.

Malcolm X is a great film and worth the watch!

The first third bores, then Denzel soars .

Long, Slow, Too Wordy And Biased .