Friday, October 7, 2016

The Birth of a Nation Movie Review

Nate Parker & Aja Naomi King (r) star in The Birth of a Nation

Going to Jerusalem

Rotten Tomatoes Plot: Set against the antebellum South, The Birth of a Nation follows Nat Turner (Nate Parker) a literate slave and preacher, whose financially strained owner, Samuel Turner (Armie Hammer) accepts an offer to use Nat's preaching to subdue unruly slaves. As he witnesses countless atrocities - against himself and his fellow slaves - Nat orchestrates an uprising, in the hopes of leading his people to freedom. Directed by Nate Parker. Also stars Aunjanue Ellis, Aja Naomi King, Penelope Ann Miller and Esther Scott.

Comparisons to 12 Years a Slave are inevitable; but I prefer Parker's The Birth of a Nation for its remarkable restraint. Parker tells a wondrous story, while deftly striking a balance between life as a slave, and its inexorable horrors. Said atrocities are generously edited until the film's violent conclusion; but there's also moments of bliss (Nat's touching proposal) humor ("Good Lord") and honor throughout. The pace is quick, and the performances (Parker, Hammer, King and Scott) nothing short of stellar. Oscar-worthy (Best Picture, Director) and hands down, one of (if not the) best films of 2016. A must see.

Grade: A