Starring: Morgan Freema, Matthew McConaughey, Nigel Hawthrone, Djimon Hounsou, David Paymer, Peter Postlewaite, Chiwetel Ejiofor
In the 19th century, slave trade has been abolished in the United States and only those born on plantations are deemed as slaves. Kidnapping or purchasing Africans from Africa and selling them is now termed to be illegal. A Spanish vessel called La Amistad witnessed a slave uprising with the slaves taking control of the ship. They let the ship owners survive, believing that they will take them back to Africa. The ship instead gets found by the US Navy and is taken into custody. The slaves, led by Cinque (Hounsou) demand for their freedom and return to Sierra Leone, something which the Spanish government is refuting on the grounds that the ship and it’s cargo belongs to Spain and USA has got no jurisdiction over it. Social activist Lewis Tappan (Paymer) and Theodore Joadson (Freeman) wish to give justice to the slaves and request a property attorney, Roger Baldwin (McConaughey) to help him represent the slaves in court. The current president of The United States, Martin van Buren is facing pressure from the Spanish government along with the southern states to not let the slaves go free. If they do, the south states would go to war with the north and eventually lead to a civil war. A movie from the renowned Steven Spielberg, it has a lot riding on it. It very accurately showcases American politics, slavery and the build up to the civil war. The movie is far too straight forward and lacks elements to add some form of entertainment or to make it more interesting. It is a pure legal battle with a glorified vision of USA which tries to project American politicians and bureaucrat as catalysts towards elimination of slavery. Some pieces of information were missing and were left to the audiences imagination like the argument of the district attorney and the change of heart of the corrupt judge. These missing elements pieced together along with some tweaks in the story line could have gone a long way in making this movie more enjoyable. A good court-battle movie that deserved to be better.
Thumbs up: Fabulous acting, especially by Djimon Hounsou
Thumbs down: Could be more interesting
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