Monday, January 21, 2008
Rating: 4 out of 5
Two things really make this movie worth seeing, the original story and the supporting cast. Being in the Bible Belt, this movie was advertised as a film about the Christian song Amazing Grace. This movie was different than what I expected. It was a movie about the English slave trade and how William Wilberforce fought to end it. I did not time it this way, but it was an excellent film to consider on Martin Luther King Jr. day.
The story itself has many great struggles in it. The struggle of looking the other way for economic prosperity or doing the right thing. The struggles of the late 1700s about whether the people's voice could be heard in government. The amount of loyalty and integrity that you keep throughout your life. This movie is rated PG but I was frankly surprised by that rating afterwards. It does not just tackle the issue of slavery, but it shows you the cruel reality that many people chose to ignore. They even use the N word (although it is obviously given a very negative tone). The shear force of the true story elevates this movie immediately into high regard in my book. This is a history story that I have never heard until now, and it is one that more people should hear.
The supporting cast on this movie was superb. The main actor Ioan Gruffudd (somehow pronounced YAn Griffith) probably wasn't as appealing to me because of how he had be true to Wilberforce. The ones that really stuck out to me were Albert Finney (John Newton), Benedict Cumberbatch (William Pitt), and Michael Gambon (Lord Fox). If you are familiar with the Harry Potter movies, Gambon has been portraying Dumbledore and is quite an excellent speaker. A side item that I noticed was how well the film broke people down from their public selves to their real true inner core. One way that it accomplished that was by constantly showing how different people looked when they were not wearing the fashionable wigs from the period.
The main detractor for me on this film was the way in which they told the story. The first half of the movie is constantly moving back and forth from the present(1797) to years prior. Everyone looks relatively the same so at certain points you are confused at whether or not you are watching a memory. Overall, the historical story and superb acting win out on this movie.