Malcolm X is a good biopic. It tells an important story and Denzel Washington gives an excellent performance as the sixties Black leader. Malcolm X is also on the long side at over two hundred minutes. The Malcolm X Blu-ray Book edition includes a DVD of the 1972 documentary.
The Malcolm X story is important and needed to be made into a movie. Spike Lee eventually gets around to telling the story and when he does, tells it well even if the movie is self-indulgent and too often about how great and clever Spike Lee is as a director. This is obvious in the first forty some minutes of the movie where Shorty (Spike Lee) often overshadows Malcolm and where many cute tricks like the Black version of the From Here To Eternity beach scene are just Lee showing off.
Malcolm X really starts some seventy minutes in when Malcolm Little is in jail and meets Baines, a Muslim who tells him about Islam. It is then the character, and Denzel Washington, really takes over.
It is unfortunate the relationship between Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam is not more clearly defined.
One of this movie’s great ironies is Spike Lee fought hard to be made director, saying a white director like Norman Jewison would end up making a movie about a white man, and then chose to open Malcolm X by focusing on a character named Shorty played by no other than Spike Lee.
Special features for Malcolm X Blu-ray Book in addition to the documentary DVD include Commentary by Spike Lee and others, Deleted Scenes, and a Making Of