LowComDom Performances Presents
Film Review - Amistad
There are privileges that go along with being the world's most successful director. You get to do films that Hollywood brass would never green-light for anyone else. Such is the case with Amistad, a story about the fight for freedom by a group of kidnapped Africans in the 1830s.
Steven Spielberg spearheads this monumental film. It is long for an American film, and it has an authentic feel to it. That feel should be what hauls you into the theater to see it. It is as if you were transported back to the 1830s: the costumes, settings and lighting making the illusion true.
The Africans are extremely well played by an ensemble cast. Each is speaking what I assume is an accurate African language. This cast is not just saying lines and playing stereotypes -- they are fleshing out the culture of their characters. This is key in keeping the Amistad illusion going.
There are several great performances, most notably Matthew McConaughey as the young lawyer arguing the case. Anthony Hopkins is fun as an older John Quincy Adams. Our focus on the Africans is held by Djimon Hounsou as Cinque. He is the human spirit breaking its chains. If Oscar doesn't shine on Mr. Hounsou, it's a crime.
Where Amistad fails is in the pace of the editing. I have nothing against longer films, but we must sit through three trials. It feels as if this film is repeating itself at times. Remove this problem and you have another masterpiece of filmmaking from Spielberg.
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Released in 1997
MPAA Rating: R
Reviewed by Mongo