Amistad (1997) – Encore Review

“[to the Court] This man is black. We can all see that. But can we also see as easily that which is equally true: that he is the only true hero in this room? Now, if he were white, he wouldn’t be standing before this court fighting for his life. If he were white and his enslavers were British, he wouldn’t be standing, so heavy the weight of the medals and honors we would bestow upon him. Songs would be written about him. The great authors of our times would fill books about him. His story would be told and retold, in our classrooms. Our children, because we would make sure of it, would know his name as well as they know Patrick Henry’s. Yet, if the South is right, what are we to do with that embarrassing, annoying document, The Declaration of Independence? What of its conceits? “All men created equal,” “inalienable rights,” “life, liberty,” and so on and so forth? What on Earth are we to do with this? I have a modest suggestion. [tears papers in half]” – John Quincy Adams

Number of Times Seen – 3 Times (16 Apr 2006, 6 Nov 2016 and 7 Dec 2021)

Link to original reviewHere

Brief Synopsis – A group of African slaves are put on trial after they commandeered their slave ship and murdered their slavers.

My Take on it – This is a very powerful film that tells such a great and poignant story.

Director Steven Spielberg doesn’t shy away from showing certain aspects of the story in graphic detail and that helps make things even more powerful because it can be seen in the true light of the actions of these men.

The way that they frame things around the courtroom scenes is done extremely well and helps give life to both the political ramifications of these events along with the criminal and humane aspects.

The cast is superb and is filled with so many great actors including Matthew McConauhey, Morgan Freeman, Djimon Hounsou, and Stellan Skarsgaard, but the best to watch is Anything Hopkins in his Oscar nominated supporting role as John Quincy Adams as he is able to steal every scene he is in while also making the viewer crave even more.

The film’s powerful message resonates throughout and stays with the viewer long after the credits have rolled.

The story is an integral part of US History as it helped turn the tide of the country a decade before the US Civil War and it shows how even small circumstances can have a much grander impact of history.

Highly Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Before action was called, for one of the courtroom scenes, an extra from Rhode Island, who was playing a courtroom guard, accidentally tripped and knocked into Morgan Freeman, who was standing close by. Steven Spielberg called out on his microphone to the extra, “Sir, please do not knock over Morgan Freeman!” (From IMDB)

Rating – Oscar Worthy (9/10) (no change from original review)


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