If Denzel Washington only acted in one movie, and that movie was Malcolm X, then Washington would still be one of the greatest actors of his generation. Washington fills every inch of the frame with explosive fury and words that cut like daggers. His “We didn’t land on Plymouth Rock. Plymouth Rock landed on us” is one of the rare times where the movie improves upon reality. Spike Lee’s massive bio-pic runs nearly three and a half hours, and it flies.

Malcolm X is available to stream on DirecTV and HBO Max. The above review first appeared in the pages of Boulder Weekly Vol. 27, No. 43, “Home Viewing: Spike Lee.”