Amistad - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Amistad Reviews

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August 22, 2017
Spielberg didnt dissapoint me again.
July 26, 2017
Watching this now twenty year old film, two things are evident, one: Djimon Hounsou has been seriously undervalued by Hollywood in the last two decades, and two: When he wants to be, Steven Spielberg can be seriously unforgiving and uncompromising when telling a story with difficult subject matter. Telling the story of the violent slave uprising on Spanish slave ship La Amistad and the subsequent trial of the self freed salves, from the moment it begins, the viewer is flung into dark, searing horror, as Hounsou painfully and bloodily digs a nail out of the deck of the ship in skin crawling, lingering close up that is difficult to watch on its own, after he uses said nail to unchain himself we then witness the graphic massacre of the spanish slavers, which, even before you find out what befell these poor people at the hands of their captors, carries a nasty sense of satisfaction. What follows is an times admittedly heavy handed and overwrought but powerful and beautifully directed work of cinematic art. Steven Spielberg could be said to overdo some elements and bring a kind of artificial look and feel to this very real and important story, but even on a lesser day Spielberg accentuates the powerful, potent elements of his storytelling to a visceral degree, no filmmaker is a better or more vivid cinematic storyteller, from shot composition, to lighting, blocking, powerful acting from the amazing cast (especially the electric Hounsou, who should have become one of the biggest leading men in the industry off the back of this film) and visual choices that connect the tale being told in a rich and affecting way. A flawed but great film with a very important and tough piece of history that needed to be told and needs to be remembered.
½ June 27, 2017
Best historical movie I have ever seen
April 23, 2017
Amistad is a well made slavery film that traces some important history. Still, I found it kind of dry and tedious, but that's just because its not my style
½ April 2, 2017
Spielberg alternately makes a film with a big budget and a small budget. He painted a masterpiece out of the shoah and released a low budget film about the selling of African slaves. Is this unequal treatment not racist? From the beginning of the film, we see Africans capturing other Africans without explaining that without the demand of the whites the Africans would never have behaved like that. Then we show the good whites who take the defense of the black poor presented as incompetent idiots who can't defend themselves. In the end, the Americans are the good guys and the Spaniards the bad guys. It's racist. How many slaves were entitled to a trial? How many abolitionists in America, that will remain segregated for centuries? The truths are too numerous to adhere, even if the idea is good and some aspects of the horror of slavery are well treated (but not all and not enough).
½ December 26, 2016
Saw It In 9th Grade And It Was beautiful
½ November 27, 2016
Some actors should never be cast in period films. Morgan Freeman...sounds and talks the same as he does in EVERY movie. There's other actors I noticed that should not have been in this movie. The mixed hauppauge of actors playing their period parts well like Hopkins and others sounding like they do in every movie they've ever been in completely turned me off and I didn't watch more than 5 mins of the movie. Kudos to those who tried and gave effort, shame on those who did not
½ September 24, 2016
Djimon and McConaughey shine in this upsetting but remarkable true story of freedom and slavery. It should have won oscars aplenty but was wrongly overlooked.
September 10, 2016
I'm biased on this one because I lived in and love Sierra Leone, but I love it.

Deep and heartfelt, I was cheering Cinque on the entire time.
August 25, 2016
absolute story telling for establishing political propaganda unless history
½ August 19, 2016
Marvelous performances in an excellent film about an incident that should be taught in public school history text books, but isn't. Anthony Hopkins steals the show.
½ August 10, 2016
The amazing cast does a great job. Mostly a court drama but the actors were so good that the pace was fine. Great movie!
½ July 25, 2016
I talk about this case every time I go into the old Supreme Court. The film was a bit dramatic, but overall well made.
July 3, 2016
A period drama about a court case which escalates to be a pre-civil war debate about slavery. It does have some very dramatic scenes and is well acted out by a strong cast but it is too long and pretty slow.
May 28, 2016
Much like "Lincoln," the courtroom scenes are executed beautifully, and the slavery scenes are just as harsh as they should be without any sugarcoating. It's more of a historical fact-based film instead of a character study, which always kind of drives me crazy, but Spielberg really directs the hell out of it and Djimon Hounsou's performance is quite masterful.
April 16, 2016
"Amistad" has a compelling and important story to tell, and with Spielberg at the helm it shows glimpses of being something truly special, but Spielberg indulges in a few too many Spielberg-isms in in creative ways, and the story is somewhat preached to the audience rather than shown. When it is shone though, as in most all of the sequences onboard the slaving vessels and directly involving the captured African slaves, but the courtroom drama, while getting off to an engaging start, grinds to a halt in the final act. Almost every scene is treated as climactic, with swelling strings and speechifying on the positions of historical figures. There are beautiful and haunting moments scattered throughout (Gustav Dore's illustrations for the Bible inspiring the slaves a particularly moving one) but this film needed a tighter, more focused script that emphasized characters and complexity. Even the cinematography is pretty average for Spielberg. "Amistad" is good as a history lesson, but not necessarily as film.
½ March 28, 2016
"Amistad" is the American slavery story that made its way to the Supreme Court and yet, you have probably never heard about it. Steven Spielberg brings this story to life in a slow-moving but compelling courtroom setting. I expected much more from this film but that's probably why it is relatively unknown. It competed for four Oscars in the year that "Titanic" swept the event but I don't find any of the noteworthy pieces of this puzzle to be that impressive. The obvious one is Sir Anthony Hopkins and his nomination for Best Supporting Actor as John Quincy Adams. It is very apparent that the nomination is based solely on his impressive patriotic court monologue because the remainder of his role in the film is just average. I also found the performances by big names like Matthew McConahy, Morgan Freeman, and one of my favorite character actors (Pete Postlethwaite) to be underwhelming. The saving grace for the overall acting of this film comes from a young Chiwetel Ejiofor and the non-English-speaking role by Dijmon Hounsou. These two actors draw attention from the rest in every scene. It may be worth watching this one just for those two. The greatest fault of this film is its long-windedness. I understand that this is mainly the story of a court case but the court case relies on our compassion for the slaves. The strong imagery drives the story, rendering the 2 1/2-hour runtime unnecessary. Each excess minute in the courtroom takes away from the poignancy established through the film's introduction and the graphic, heartbreaking flashback. I credit the screenwriters for humanizing the slaves instead of making them into faceless victims; still, the language barrier and extensive dialogue causes the story to plod along until you stop caring about the slaves. Another Oscar nomination was earned by John Williams for his scoring of the film but I find it to be average in comparison with many of his other film scores. It never reaches the heartbreak of "Schindler's List," the driving suspense of "Jurassic Park," or the period-enhancement of "The Patriot." There are a few moments but not enough to make this a masterpiece like many of his other films. Even in a year that was not swept by "Titanic," I can't see this film winning any of its Oscar nominations. "Amistad" is worth seeing for a few memorable performances and the story that it tells, but it is offensive to see Morgan Freeman underused. Not to mention that in the world of courtroom dramas, you are better off spending your time with a second viewing of "A Few Good Men" or "Runaway Jury."
½ March 24, 2016
A hugely engaging and moving portrayal of the plight of a group of slaves who managed to gain control of the ship transporting them to Cuba from Africa. Falling into the hands of the American authorities, the slaves become the subject of a legal battle between the Spanish government, the ship owners, salvage workers and the civil rights movement. The main plot centres around the question of the men being property or kidnapped from their homelands illegally. The action centres chiefly around the ensuing court cases with Matthew McConaughey speaking on behalf of the slaves who are lead by Djimon Hounsou. There are moments of levity as the slaves struggle to understand the bizarre process that they find themselves caught up in but much of the plot involves legal exposition and some moving scenes largely told via flashback. The cast is strong. Aside from McConaughey and Hounsou, we have the ever dependable Anthony Hopkins as a slightly dotty John Quincy Adams, Morgan Freeman as Theodore Joadson and Nigel Hawthorn as Martin Van Buren. In the shameful history of slavery, the tale of the prisoners on the ship La Amistad is an unusual one that deserves to be known. Steven Spielberg does a solid job in directing the tale and it never feels laboured or preachy.
January 24, 2016
Steven Spielberg Is My Favorite Film Director Of All Time And John Williams Is My Favorite Film Composer Of All Time.
½ January 18, 2016
Another great period piece from Spielberg.
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