Review: Amistad (1997)
|Writers:||David H. Franzoni|
|Director of Photography:||Janusz Kaminski|
|Production Designer:||Rick Carter|
|Producers:||Debbie Allen, Steven Spielberg and Colin Wilson|
|DreamWorks SKG; R; 152 minutes|
|Cast:||Morgan Freeman, Nigel Hawthorne, Stellan Skarsgrd, Matthew McConaughey, Djimon Hounsou, Anthony Hopkins, David Paymer and Pete Postlethwaite|
Though it's also a must-see, Amistad doesn't seem as compelling or immediate as Schindler's List. While Schindler tackled the Holocaust from an emotional and historical point of view, Amistad takes a pedantic approach that doesn't fully explore the psychological side of the atrocity. In 1839, 53 Africans aboard a Spanish slave ship, La Amistad, break free of their shackles and revolt against their captors. They fail in their desperate attempt to sail back to Africa and end up in America charged with murder and piracy. With the help of abolitionists Joadson (Freeman) and Tappan (Skarsgrd) and real estate attorney Baldwin (McConaughey), they begin an arduous journey through the American legal system. Cinque (Hounsou), the unwilling leader of the Africans, becomes the spokesman for the group, retelling the story of the Africans to Baldwin and later to former President John Quincy Adams (Hopkins), who argues for the Africans in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. Hounsou turns in a haunting performance as Cinque, and Anthony Hopkins is in peak form as Adams.