(out of 5)

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.

DreamWorks, Home Box Office

USA, 1997

Directed by Steven Spielberg

Screenplay by

Cinematography by

Produced by , Steven Spielberg,

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by

Academy Award Nominations
Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Anthony Hopkins as “John Quincy Adams”)
Best Cinematography (Janusz Kaminski)
Best Costume Design (Ruth E. Carter)
Best Music (Original Dramatic Score (John Williams)

Golden Globe Award Nominations
Best Motion Picture-Drama
Best Performance By An Actor in a Motion Picture-Drama (Djimon Hounsou)
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Anthony Hopkins)
Best Director (Steven Spielberg)

Screen Actors Guild Award Nomination
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role (Anthony Hopkins)

Directors Guild Award Nomination
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures (Steven Spielberg)

European Film Award
Outstanding European Achievement In World Cinema (Stellan Skarsgard)



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