The movie Amistad is a 4 star film because I believe it is historically accurate, very effective in showing the way slaves were treated, and the way slavery and the American judicial system worked during the Antebellum period. The movie was also a good watch, and was entertaining and educational at the same time. The movie also proved to be realistic, entertaining, and believable.
Amistad seemed realistic to me throughout the entire movie; one specific example would be the opening scene of the movie. The scene had the slaves taking over La Amistad. At first, it didn’t seem very likely that the slaves would have actually been able to do that. But after thought, it began to seem more likely. Considering the number of slaves versus the number of crew members, and also considering that the slaves had already come from lives of labor. Also, when the Cinqu? first pulled the nail from the rock, I personally found that believable too. A lot of people wouldn’t have put themselves through that much pain, with no guarantee of results, but he had wanted to get back to his family so badly that it didn’t matter.
In my opinion, the movie actually seemed somewhat biased towards the slave’s point of view. It was always shown that the slaves had come from such happy lives where all was good, into a life of beatings, labor, and sickness. Granted they did come into this, but as they said in the movie, in the Mende tribe, they have something of the same thing as a slave. If a person is indebted to another, or something happens where the consequences would require this, then that man would become a sort of servant or slave to the man he owed. The Mende seemed to do the same thing to their salves, only on not quite the same level. I do however, agree that white men have treated slaves horribly and there is no excuse for it, but watching the movie, one does pick up a sense of bias towards the slaves.
The movie was an entertaining one, that is true. At times, it did seem like they were trying rather hard to break the serious tone with a joke, but sometimes that was needed. Even without those sporadic times of humor, the movie was entertaining. It was intriguing and a good watch. I always wanted to see what was going to happen, it wasn’t an edge-of-the-seater but it had an air of suspense, especially if you didn’t already know the story of La Amistad.
The story wasn’t too difficult to follow, although at times I had to stop and think of what was going on. For example, when Cinqu? was telling his story to the translator, the entire thing made sense but was kind of hard to follow. With all of the stories of what was happening to the slaves on the ship when the crew members were whipping and killing some of the slaves. Other than that, the movie was very easy to watch.
I found the characters to be believable. The movie crew did a good job researching the roles, especially that of Cinqu? and his people. Their was a good tension between Cinqu? and Theodore Joadson (Morgan Freeman) since, Joadson was now a free black man, and Cinqu? still had to suffer through slavery. Roger Baldwin (Matthew McConaughey) played a very good lawyer for the slaves, it seemed like he truly cared for the freedom of the Mendes.
All in all, I would rate this movie to be a very good one. I would definitely recommend it to use in history classes, and for anyone else for that matter. Some important things I learned from the movie were how slavery and the American judicial system worked in that time period, slavery laws, regarding territory and where they came from, and finally that language is a strong barrier.
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