Perhaps the costuming was a bit overdone. It is carrying a cargo of Africans who have been sold into slavery in Cuba, taken on board, and chained in the cargo hold of the ship. And perhaps it's the slave boat and all the scenes on it that were the most incredible. During the long trip, Cinque Djimon Hounsou leads the slaves in an unprecedented uprising. These events, based on facts, occur before the Civil War. Spielberg manages to make even the slowest scenes sparkle with focus on Hounsou, and the film's extraordinary power is simply captivating.
The ship is intercepted by the American navy and a messy trial ensues to see who has rights regarding the cargo, Spain, America. The fact that it hasn't been told at least a dozen times makes it original, but doesn't make it easy to compare it to other similar movies of course. I was reminded that interior spaces in the 1830's were not garishly lit Hollywood sets with dramatic shadows. How does one determine who is free? In the midst of this are two abolitionists Stellan Skaarsgard and Morgan Freeman , who want the slaves to be free. For that matter we learned nothing of Denmark Vesey's or Nat Turner's slave revolt.
A good job all around. I do not attend more than a handful of movies a year at a theatre. I hope this film lives on to become a classic. In 1839, those questions were more difficult to answer then they are now. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, as long as it is done properly and accurately, because these movies are often the only source of new knowledge for a lot of people once they have left school and even at school they hate history classes because they don't seem to understand the importance of it.
The Africans depicted here are forbidden to be slaves in the first place. The two remaining steered the ship Amistad to Long Island where the whole story is discovered. And it's that sense of reality that makes this movie so special. Before his story is told the attorneys have to learn the language and Spielberg graphically portrays their struggle for communication. You'll get to see the fort in Sierra Leone where the slaves were brought together to be shipped to the New World, you'll see a nice representation of the American cities of those days, you'll see the ships of that time.
We learned about the Civil War and what led up to it. Ironically enough his last bid for public office was in 1848 as the third party presidential candidate of the Free Soil anti-slavery party. They continue to sail, hoping to find their way back to Africa. At the same time it's very easy and very hard to say what I liked about this movie. A very different sort was John Quincy Adams our sixth president from 1825 to 1829. At times, the film is very slow, and very methodical.
Other performances to note are Morgan Freeman as black free man Theodore Joadson, Stellan Skarsgaard as abolitionist Lewis Tappan, Matthew McConaughey as attorney Roger Baldwin and most of all Djimon Hounsou as Cinque the leader of the African's revolt. As the ship is crossing from Cuba to the U. I believe that he and the African actor Djimon Hounsou should have been seriously considered for acting awards. Labelling it as such would be missing the point by a mile. What has to be remembered here is that the while slavery was legal, the importation of slaves had been banned for quite some time by 1839. The acting is magnificent, mainly two amazing performances. Storyline : Amistad is the name of a slave ship traveling from Cuba to the U.
During the long trip, Cinque leads the slaves in an unprecedented uprising. In 1839, the slave ship Amistad set sail from Cuba to America. It is this emotional force that carries the film. Nigel Hawthorne captures Van Buren, a man who always played his cards close to the vest. Then they are discovered by some American marine officers, who bring the ship into harbor and hand over the slaves to the local authorities. But Spielberg's finest work in the film, the opening scene, a scene of Cinque's family, and the brutal voyage of the slaves to America, is altogether stunning.
. What happens briefly is that a cargo of Africans on a Spanish slaver revolted mid sea and killed all but two on board. The story is a gripping one, and one of extreme importance. Other viewers have commented on static qualities of this film. But why aren't there so many movies about the slave trade and the plantations? McConaughey is superb as the lawyer defending the Africans, Hopkins is sensational as the old Adams, Freeman is outstanding when used Spielberg vastly under uses his supreme talents , and the rest of the cast is stellar. They are then held prisoner in Connecticut, and their release becomes the subject of heated debate. Spielberg is not at his finest here, the courtroom scenes have a tendency to lag.