Amistad – Das Sklavenschiff (1997)

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Amistad – Das Sklavenschiff: Directed by Steven Spielberg. With Morgan Freeman, Nigel Hawthorne, Anthony Hopkins, Djimon Hounsou. In 1839, the revolt of Mende captives aboard a Spanish owned ship causes a major controversy in the United States when the ship is captured off the coast of Long Island. The courts must decide whether the Mende are slaves or legally free.

“There is one thing that Iu0026#39;ve never understood about Hollywood. When it comes to historic and realistic movies, they have used about every possible subject. Think of the American Civil War, the Hollocaust, the Second World War, the Vietnam war,… Each of these historic subjects has been used in a movie at least once. 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 donu0026#39;t seem to understand the importance of it). But why arenu0026#39;t there so many movies about the slave trade and the plantations? Are the studios afraid of that subject or are they so racist, that they have never been able to come to terms with the abolishment of slavery? u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eu0026quot;Amistadu0026quot; tells the story of a group of Africans who start a revolt against the crew of the slave ship La Amistad and get adrift for several weeks after this horrible event. Then they are discovered by some American marine officers, who bring the ship into harbor and hand over the slaves to the local authorities. Soon they have to stand trial for this revolt and the fact that they have murdered the crew. But a couple of honorable men, who want to end the slavery in the New World, will defend them with everything that is within their power … even if that means that they will offend some other countries or start a civil war.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eAt the same time itu0026#39;s very easy and very hard to say what I liked about this movie. I liked almost everything about it, but explaining why will take some time. Let me start with the story on itself. The fact that it hasnu0026#39;t been told at least a dozen times makes it original, but doesnu0026#39;t make it easy to compare it to other similar movies of course. Still, the quality was more than OK and had a lot of variation to offer. Itu0026#39;s clearly well-written with a good eye for detail and even though Iu0026#39;m normally not a fan of court room dramau0026#39;s, I must say that it didnu0026#39;t even bother me that a court room was the place where the biggest part of this movie was set. What I also liked was the acting. From people like Morgan Freeman and Anthony Hopkins you canu0026#39;t expect anything else but a fine performance, but it was the rest of the cast that offered me a nice surprise. Djimon Hounsou for instance still isnu0026#39;t a house hold name, even though he has played in a few excellent movies like u0026quot;Gladiatoru0026quot; and u0026quot;In Americau0026quot;, but once again he proves that heu0026#39;s a talented actor and I sure hope to see him in many more big productions soon. u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eEven though a large part of this movie was shot in a court room, it also offered plenty of other sets. Youu0026#39;ll get to see the fort in Sierra Leone where the slaves were brought together to be shipped to the New World, youu0026#39;ll see a nice representation of the American cities of those days, youu0026#39;ll see the ships of that time… And perhaps itu0026#39;s the slave boat and all the scenes on it that were the most incredible. I donu0026#39;t think the horror of the slave trade was more obvious as it was in those scenes. They certainly arenu0026#39;t suited for people who canu0026#39;t stand the sight of blood or very graphic violence, but excluding them from this movie would not only be a shame, it would harm the sense of reality. And itu0026#39;s that sense of reality that makes this movie so special. Of course Steven Spielberg knows exactly how to make a movie feel as real as possible. Think of u0026quot;Schindleru0026#39;s Listu0026quot; and u0026quot;Saving Private Ryanu0026quot;, both movies that will always be in my list of the best movies Iu0026#39;ve ever seen, but with this movie he has proved that he can do more than telling a story situated in WWII. u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eIn the end I can only say that this is a movie that every American and every European should see. The Americans should see it because the slaves ones were the reason why the plantations in the South prospered and the civil war was fought and the Europeans shouldnu0026#39;t miss it, for we should never forget that the slave trade will always be a dark page in our long history. This movie is for so many reasons worth to be seen (not once, but at least a couple of times), that it doesnu0026#39;t deserve anything less than an 8.5/10.”


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