Shortlisted are the movies which I actually enjoy seeing more than once. I’ve become such a crab around movies that my family sometimes doesn’t like to go to the cinema with me. Maybe it’s just me, but if a production house is spending tens of millions of dollars to produce a piece of entertainment, why not put a plausible, gripping story with it.
Enough complaining about Hollywood because I actually want to highlight one of my favorite movies which I have watched many times and never seem to tire of it. It even brings me to tears every time I watch it if I was man enough to admit it. It’s the Steven Spielberg 1997 movie “Amistad”. How it did not win an Oscar for best picture I do not know.
“Amistad” tells the real-life story of a group of African slaves who in 1839 leave Cuba on the boat Amistad, only to overthrow the crew in a bloody insurrection and end up in court in Connecticut for murder and rebellion.
The seemingly small matter takes on great significance during the re-election campaign of Martin Van Buren when southern political pressure makes it obvious that they do not want the Africans to go free. The stakes are high for everyone, but none more so for the Africans themselves, seeing how they were not slaves to begin with and were illegally captured from their African homes and brought to Cuba by Spanish slave ship.
Matthew McConnaughay plays the Africans’ attorney, Roger Baldwin, and Morgan Freeman plays Henry Joadson, the freed abolitionist who tries to recruit former president John Quincy Adams (the amazing Anthony Hopkins) to help try the case when it reaches the Supreme Court.
The courtroom drama is riveting, the acting is mesmerizing, Spielberg’s vision of America in 1839 is gripping. But at the heart, this is a touching story about people wanting what everyone does: their freedom.
If you haven’t seen “Amistad” don’t wait any longer.