SPIKE Lee's BlacKkKlansman handcuffs racial divisions in present-day America to the outlandish true story of a black police detective, who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s.

The director's impassioned, conscience-pricking satire on corruption and bigotry is based on a memoir by retired Colorado Springs officer Ron Stallworth and walks a tightrope between fact and stranger-than-fiction, seizing every opportunity to echo battle cries of the 2016 US presidential election.

Thus, David Duke, the former 'Grand Wizard' of the Ku Klux Klan (Topher Grace) proudly addresses a room of his ardent supporters and sincerely thanks them for 'putting America first'.

Lee, who co-wrote the script, makes abundantly clear his thoughts on history repeating.

A disorienting opening salvo featuring Alec Baldwin as a tub-thumping white supremacist segues to Colorado Springs.

Ron (John David Washington) is persuaded to join the police force as part of a diversity drive. This doesn't include visibility because Ron is consigned to the records room, where he suffers abuse from fellow officers.

Eventually, Ron compels Chief Bridges (Robert John Burke) and Sergeant Trapp (Ken Garito) to utilise him in the field.

Back at headquarters, Ron responds to a newspaper advertisement for new members for the Ku Klux Klan and he impresses chapter president Walter Breachway (Ryan Eggold). Ron foolishly gives his own name over the telephone so when the time comes to meet Walter in person, Detective Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver) poses as Ron and spits out racist bile on cue to perpetrate the deception.

Walter's second-in-command Felix Kendrickson (Jasper Paakkonen) isn't convinced but his concerns are overruled when the real Ron develops a telephone friendship with David Duke (Grace), who is due to visit Colorado Springs in a few weeks.

BlacKkKlansman nestles uncomfortable truths in an outlandish narrative, which pays tribute to 'the Jackie Robinson of the Colorado Springs police force' as he outwits the KKK from the inside.

Washington and Driver are a groovy double-act and the script strikes a pleasing balance between suspense and humour.

Lee occasionally over-eggs his deliciously tart pudding like his choice to juxtapose climactic scenes of characters chanting 'Black Power' and 'White Power'. Sometimes, restraint lands the heaviest blows.

RATING: 8/10