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A good movie

Posted : 3 years, 9 months ago on 31 March 2015 07:52

It had been a while since I have seen this flick so I thought it was time for a re-watch. Well, even though it must have been at first quite an ambitious project for Steven Spielberg, eventually, it turned out to be one of his most forgotten movies. It's too bad because I think it is actually pretty good. Indeed, in my opinion, it was a great story and it dealt with a very important subject but, I have to admit it, the movie itself was not really amazing. Indeed, the story was quite intriguing and there was an impressive cast (Morgan Freeman, Nigel Hawthorne, Anthony Hopkins, Djimon Hounsou, Matthew McConaughey, Pete Postlethwaite, Stellan Skarsgård, Anna Paquin, Chiwetel Ejiofor) but I thought that the whole thing tried to be way too much theatrical for its own good. It’s like having Spielberg gently whispering in your ear all the time ‘Don’t worry, it is all very depressing but it’s still just a movie after all’. Years later, he would come back with another movie slightly about the same subject, ‘Lincoln’, and he would definitely nail it this time. To conclude, even though it never really reached its full potential, I still believe it is a solid historical drama and it is definitely worth a look, especially if you like the genre.

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A Very Sad Ship

Posted : 6 years, 5 months ago on 9 August 2012 02:02

Wow, things were pretty different back in the 90s, weren't they? Lol. Seriously, though, there's nothing like history for drama, and this is almost a case study in why I don't like drama the way that I used to.... I mean, I like Spanish guys! (".... A todos!") And even Americans! ("I'm trying to drink my brandy at the end of a long day.") {And, to be honest, you could really have a lot of fucking *fun* with this movie-- the only thing better than the whole 'tengo la camisa negra' angle is the whole friend-ship thing, which I thought was hilarious.... Because I always thought that friendship was the best ship, you know....}

I mean, I would really have rather seen the one that Morgan Freeman was in with that Hispanic cashier, ("Ten Items Or Less", I think), or any of his comedies.... It's just that this was what was on. To be honest, I think that this is basically a waste of his talent, in almost the same way that his science show is basically a waste of his talent.

Although I'll admit that it was funny when the lawyer guy had that look on his face and then said, "But Christ lost."

"And what about Dung-Scraper?"

"I have a terrible feeling that he speaks for us."


Addendum: And, you know, sometimes I speculate about how many people get turned off to Jane Austen, just because she was English, back in the era of evil.... But I think that you ought to see how absurd that is, once you notice that the British naval officer is virtually the only respectable man in the entire five-act play....

And, you know: this isn't the first time that I've thought that maybe, (no disrespect intended to that bloke Washington), that maybe American independence-- *so early*, at least-- was actually just a big giant mistake.... We could have just bit the bullet, and dealt with the British stamps, and the British post office, and the Royal Navy. ("Washingon DC: Taxation Without Representation." Yeah, well, maybe they should rebel....)

{And why is Washington DC okay? Isn't it.... *gasp*! *Virtual representation*! *laughs* And anyway, there were probably more *Irish* MPs in Parliament, than there were English ones.... It's not as though London were the capital of *Spain*! Or *France*, even! Let alone *Prussia*! Ha! The Prussians were practically like Mr Saber here.... *sans the excuse*!}

And the abolition of slavery, and God Save the King & Queen, and Jane Austen.

*shrugs* I mean, look at what we have to put up against that-- the fanatical Christ-y abolitionist with a martyrdom complex, as well as other sorts that were even worse....

I mean, when Morgan Freeman asked the rhetorical question about what the Founders, (blessed be their holy names), left undone, I almost wanted to say-- The Cherokees! We have to wipe out the Cherokees! (And then jump around from combat to lawyering, remembering-combat to legal crap, legal stuff to political stuff, and then just jump around from the legal to the political to the historical.... Historical! Ha!)

I mean, something like *Appaloosa* is the most *American* sort of aspect of America, do you see that? Not that I love everything Greek, but.... Provincial tastes are not always the most....

I mean, Wal-Mart came from the interior, Arkansas I think, and the founder sounded to me like he had that Atticus Finch personality type-- provincial and bookish, and that's (almost) great, but....

*Macy's* is practically *British*; the magic of Macy's is virtually *English class*....

*wipes eyes* Does any of that make sense?

..... And, anyway, this is why there's a "scarcity of gentlemen" on the dance floor, they're all doing shit like this.... Ok, look-- Mr Officer & Mr Saber, you can go dance with Kitty & Lydia, Mr Freeman, you can go take a spin with Elizabeth.... But what about Jane? Are any of these guys worth Jane's time.... Well, no, but they'll be enough here to keep *Mary* busy-- for months!

Although I do admit that Mr Baldwin should be able to give *Mr Collins* a run for his money!



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A passionate historical epic!

Posted : 10 years, 8 months ago on 21 May 2008 03:57

"Give us the courage to do what is right. And if it means civil war? Then let it come. And when it does, may it be, finally, the last battle of the American Revolution."

Amistad is straightforwardly one of Steven Spielberg's greatest motion pictures: an uncompromising, violent history lesson that does not succumb to telling a story of one of the tiring traditional historical events such as the American Civil War, the holocaust, etc. As an alternative to these aforementioned events that have been endlessly told in Hollywood productions, Spielberg tackles a poignant and imperative true story pertaining to the abolition of slavery that had yet to be explored on film.

Set in 1839, a Spanish slave trading vessel known as 'La Amistad' is transporting African prisoners with the intention of selling them into slavery. Not prepared to meekly submit to the harsh conditions they are forced to endure, the Africans stage a violent revolt against their captors. This rebellion is lead by a passionate African named Cinque (Hounsou) whose solitary goal is to sail back home and return to his beloved family. With this objective in mind the Africans inadvertently sail into the shores of the United States. They are captured and detained as runaway slaves. Mindless legal battles between several parties begin to materialise in regards to ownership of the African slaves. These Africans cannot speak a word of English, hence clueless to their probable execution for their violent rebellion. Challenging these assertions is the abolitionist Theodore Joadson (Freeman), a former slave himself, who desires for the Africans to be released and returned to their homeland. Theodore requires a lawyer to represent his position in the courtroom. As a representative he hires property lawyer Roger Baldwin (McConaughey) who believes that he can help.

The film then becomes a fascinating drama as the trial commences and the fate of the confused Africans instigates a battle of words in a confined courtroom. Following various legal proceedings the case is then brought before the US Supreme Court. Facing defeat, Theodore and Roger consult former president and lawyer John Quincy Adams (Hopkins) for help.

Amistad is a gripping legal drama fuelled by a sublime cast. Anthony Hopkins was nominated for an Oscar as John Quincy Adams. This decision is indisputable: for each scene Hopkins features in, he is always a stand-out. The final courtroom speech delivered by Hopkins is driven by poignancy and power. Although said monologue goes for almost 10 minutes there is never a dull second. Every line is attentively thought out. Djimon Hounsou's passionate portrayal is another highlight of the movie. For about 60% of the film's duration the setting is restricted to a courtroom. It can be logically deduced that acting skills of the highest order are absolutely necessary. Hounsou is always compelling and authoritative with his character's motivations blatantly palpable. This is a focused actor who has a great career ahead of him. Recognition must also go to Morgan Freeman and Matthew McConaughey. Freeman is one of the best actors of his generation. He is outstanding! It's refreshing to see Matthew McConaughey playing a unique role. Now that he's notorious for crummy romantic comedies I was a little concerned at first. My fears dissipated very quickly. Combine a mediocre actor with a great director...the results are excellent.

The cinematography by Janusz Kaminski was also nominated for an Oscar. Similar to films like Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan, Spielberg only uses the best cinematography accessible. This gorgeous cinematography also assisted in keeping my interest during the long courtroom scenes.

An Oscar nomination was also tossed at John Williams for his admirably beautiful score. The film is topped off outstandingly with the commendable directing courtesy of Mr. Steven Spielberg.

Amistad is powerful, compelling and beautiful. Only being marred marginally by its over-length, this film is a praiseworthy historical epic from the master of modern cinema.

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