Negative Critique: Charles Taylor- Salon.com
Positive Critique: James Berardinelli- Reel Views
Based on a true story, about a group of enslaved Africans aboard the slaveship La Amistad who overtake the ship and attempt to return to their homeland. When the ship is seized, the captives are brought to the United States where a courtroom battle ensues that captures the attention of the entire nation while confronting the very foundation of the American justice system.
Charles Taylor´s view of this film is agreeable in some areas but questionable in others. He states that Amistad is prestige fim-making bereft of inspiration, that the film is melodramatic and not tragic, and that it is a little like looking at pictures without a text to unify them. Taylor adds that the story is odd and confusing as the story starts off as an adventure that begins at the climax and then turns into a courtroom drama where the leading protagonist, Cinque, and his fellow defendants are relegated to the sidelines. Taylor states that Spielberg shows the misery of these people, but that they have not been brought to life, there characters have not been individualised, as if important information was missing. That the actors were stuck with predictable scenes, for example, when Cinque screams "Give us free!!" .However he does point to some bright moments in the film that of Anthony Hopkins performance as Benjamin Franklin. Taylor concludes that Amistad lacks any real emotional urgency and that the courtroom scene was almost laughable and that the film on a whole is dispiriting as it makes Spielberg stiff and respectful and that as a director he had thrown away the rightful respect he earned for Schindler´s List.
James Berardinelli´s critique of Amistad is also agreeable in some areas and questionable in others. Its interesting to see that he agrees with Taylor about it not being as masterful as Schindler´s List,... [continues]
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