Amistad – Movie Review
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The movie engages me in the story from the get-go. The slave revolt sequence was exciting. After this sequence, a calmer sequence takes place. The African slaves, now in the control of the ship and outnumbering the Spaniard slave traders, must figure out a way back to West Africa. They are ignorant, of course, and so have to rely on two surviving Spaniards to navigate them back. As a result, the African slaves are tricked and sadly end up in New England.
The story now shifts to the courtroom. The slaves are charged with piracy and other law jargon. Some British ship that caught the slaves claims ownership of the slaves, as do the two Spaniards. They started to aim to prove that the slaves originated in Africa, where slave trade had been abolished since the 1820s, and as such were illegally obtained by the two Spaniards. They win the case with ease and all seems resolved. The case shifts from simple property battle, to a national case, because of the southerners. Their terrific way of life would be partly undermined if these 100 or so slaves were freed. The president himself, Martin Van Buren, gets involved, as a certain section of the south is vital to his reelection.
One aspect of this movie that is just excellent is that everyone has something at sake, and everyone seems to have had a past before the start of this movie. When they started to searches the slave ship for evidence, then, I understand why he reacts the way he does. McConaughey is struggling lawyer, John Q. Adams had a mediocre presidency overshadowed by the feats of his father etcThis is all great.
The final big scene is an approximately 10 minute speech by John Q. Adams, played by Anthony Hopkins. Some call it preachy, some call it overlong, but I couldve watched and listened to what he said for 100 minutes. Hopkins shouldve won an Oscar for that alone. He truly became the character and as a history buff, thats really exciting. His screen presence was impeccable, and even when he wasnt speaking English, his gestures and his demeanor made us, the audience, understand precisely what he was feeling. Overall the movie was very good. The performances were all excellent and the