Friday, September 10, 2010

AMISTAD (1997)

“In a courtroom whoever tells the best story wins the case.”

In 1839 the African slaves started bloody revolt with the leader Cinque on board of Spanish ship named La Amistad. Despite their efforts to free themselves, the Spanish navigators betrayed them and tread them to US shore where they were put on trial on charge of murder and the case thrust into the white politics full of black and white. Director Steven Spielberg’s this film opens brilliantly with bloodbath scene on ship (kudos to great Janusz Kamninski) and has fine actors such as Anthony Hopkins, Morgan Freeman and Matthew McConaughey, though it’s Djimon Hounsou as Cinque seems more impressive.

Film moves us in buts and pieces especially in Cinque’s moving flashback take showing us brutal and inhuman treatment to slaves on ship, inspired by a film which considered as magnum epic of Hollywood. And while making it epical/ historical drama, Spielberg missed the point. The drama here is overt political than personal statement on anti slavery. Spielberg invoked the emotions but not with heart at right place. He told the story from the white man’s point of view; again the white men fixed the real justice for black men, nothing unusual!!! Climactic courtroom drama is all sympathetic one sided show without any conflict! Spielberg off course has noble intentions but surprisingly he missed the punch and subjective side of story telling. Seeking references of holy bible and the history of American revolutionaries; at the end the film uplifts the spirit and victory of the American courts and not the poor African slaves got free to their roots.


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