Amistad (1997)

STEVEN SPIELBERG

Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BB.5.  USA, 1997.  DreamWorks, Home Box Office.  Screenplay by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , Steven Spielberg, .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Academy Awards 1997.  Golden Globe Awards 1997.  

Morgan Freeman, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Matthew McConaughey and Daniel von Bargen in Amistad.

Overlong and patronizing account of a slave ship bound for Jamaica, whose passengers revolt with the intent of returning to Africa but end up in 19th-century Massachusetts instead. Now an American court has to decide what to do with these rebels who have committed murder against their “superiors” and are the property of Spain. Newcomer  is compelling and graceful as the main character, a slave who connects with his legal advocate () and tells his story of being abducted from his peaceful and beautiful homeland, enduring the worst conditions and indignities on the rough seas before finally taking matters into his own hands. Despite his and McConaughey’s excellent performances, and the supporting work done by a vibrant , director Steven Spielberg directs the film as if it’s meant for ten year-olds, generalizing too much information and presenting characters with little nuance ( points at the prospective slaves and shouts that they are possessions; there’s no denying that people this terrible existed, but they’re presented as caricatures here). It is, however, a chapter in history rarely talked about in schools or books and for that reason should definitely be seen, but don’t expect too much from the experience intellectually.  and  are all but wasted as gentlemen who take up the slaves’ cause.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s