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The best inspiring courtroom movie ever made!
Emotionally strong historical drama making powerful anti slavery points. Anthony Hopkins shines as ever.
It was a very realistic movie and captured the brutality of how black slaves were handled like their life didn't mean anything. It made me very emotionally and helped me grasped a new aspect when it comes to not only slavery but black rights.
An indictment on the United States founding fathers who allowed slavery in the United States. We are still paying today for countless actions against our fellow humans merely because they were black and therefore unequal to a white man.
A Beautiful Film That Accurately Depicts Slavery.
Steven Spielberg directs yet another classic of American cinema with Amistad. This is the incredible true historical dramatization of a slave revolt made by free men that are unjustly held by the United States court system. It reveals parallels to present day American and her flawed justice system showing how relevant and timeless Amistad truly remains.
Spielberg's direction is peerless with countless clever cuts that juxtaposes the present visual frame with the next scene. The close up shots in Amistad may be the best framing work of Spielberg's career. The story is significant historically and Spielberg justifies the story's necessity and importance with historical context. We get a long narrative that is contained to a lengthy 2 hours and 35 minutes; yet Amistad is so well paced it only feels like 2 hours, if that. I found myself fascinated by the story and captivated by the performances.
Speaking of which, the acting in Amistad is top notch. Djimon Hounsou gives the most compelling and passionate performance of his career. He is thoughtful and interesting in every scene. You are drawn to his magnetism and sincerity. Similarly, Matthew McConaughey delivers a wonderful and relatable performance as the lawyer representing the slaves. Furthermore, Anthony Hopkins is excellent as President John Quincy Adams. Hopkins is equally joyful and stern as Adams. He captures the man's love of nature and reverence for the law. Overall, Amistad is aptly cast across the board with peak acting for several cast members.
Musically, John Williams composed a score with many new sounds for his style. He combines African vocals with classical instrumentation for an emotional soundtrack to the harrowing Amistad. Williams perfectly matches the intensity and spirituality of Amistad's atmosphere.
In all, Spielberg crafted a lovely historical film that doubles as a deeply moving movie. Amistad is the best film from 1997 as far as I'm concerned. It remains a must watch film to witness how slaves were tormented and abused.
Touching, enlightening, difficult to watch, but a must never the less.
Amistad is a powerful film that was quite different from what I anticipated. It is odd when you go into a film expecting it to be about a group of African captives overtaking the slave traders that abducted them, and then that all happens in the first 5 minutes. Instead this became a political courtroom drama, and I adore that kind of film. Part of the magic of this story is brought out by the amazing cast. McConaughey was a bit distracting at first, but eventually I stopped seeing the actor and he disappeared into the part. Anthony Hopkins was amazing, and I couldn’t wait for him to get actively involved in the story. Finally, Djimon Hounsou was a revelation in the way he captured my attention despite the fact that I couldn’t even understand most of his dialogue. I loved the trials and how they were all dramatized. It was engaging, and even though I’m confident they took some liberties with the historical events, it all felt like an accurate depiction of how things would play out. The one problem that seems to plague Spielberg more than any other is the fact that he doesn’t always know when to end his films. Amistad was going along at a nice pace and I was enthralled, but when things were resolved and I had that swell of emotion that comes when the film ends, it kept going. It’s not exorbitantly long, but I found myself losing interest when I should have been exiting on that high. It also didn’t help that the text on screen that tells us what happened after the events in the film was not all that uplifting. I think if Amistad had stuck the landing this would have been an all-time favorite for me, instead I was left just a little let down. Perhaps in the future this won’t bother me so much, because everything that came before the conclusion was solid. Either way, this film was a pleasant surprise and one I’ll seek out again soon.
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.
Best historical movie I have ever seen