Spike Lee’s seriously sensational film not only made me laugh but also left me with chills on the hottest day of the year.

As co-producer Jordan Peele did with Get Out, Lee and company use what could have been a more traditional genre picture and pump it into an essential, hugely entertaining morality tale. Ron Stallworth’s memoir, about his days as a black Colorado Springs police officer who went undercover in the late 1970’s to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan, is remarkable on its own. Working with a white fellow officer as a stand-in, the Stallworth team not only gets inside the “organization”, but also accomplishes some pretty remarkable things once they get there. All of this could have made a fine action film, had it been produced in a commercially packaged manner. Spike Lee, vivid, angry, and assertive as ever, has no time for such manners. He wants us to know what these good guy “pigs” did. And he wants us to know the ramifications of all that as they stand today.

Appropriately, nobody escapes unscathed here. It is made very clear throughout the film that the KKK is not just targeting blacks, but Jews. And Jews, we see, better wake up. And, while the primary figures in the Klan are white men, it is also evident that women are on board, too. The fight against racism isn’t easy. It impacts and belongs to us all.

Lee’s direction, throughout the shifting narrative, is controlled and balanced enough to keep us as engrossed as we are horrified. Props not just to actors John David Washington, Adam Driver, Topher Grace and Ryan Eggold, but also to cinematographer Chayse Irvin, and Terence Blanchard, who raps us up in a glorious ‘70’s R and B score.

Is this a neat, digestible film? No. But it is a sharply savvy, urgent piece that delivers the most potent of punches and will, for all the best reasons, leave you reeling.