Rubin Hurrican Carter

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Expected Truth Unexpected Lies
When we watch a movie what do we expect from it? Drop dead gorgeous main characters? Heart rending death scenes? The ‘goodies’ triumphing over the ‘baddies’? Happy endings? But how many of us expect the truth from a movie? The film The Hurricane is one such film where the truth should be expected but instead unexpected lies are given. It takes the word of one man and creates a movie which claims to be ‘the true inspirational story of a champion’, of a wronged man who has suffered racial prejudice and injustice. This man is Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter, former Black American boxer, tried and convicted of a triple murder. What we weren’t told was that this film was the true story according to the man himself, Rubin Carter, and his self written autobiography The Sixteenth Round.

The Sixteenth Round from which the screenplay was created was written entirely by Rubin Carter during his incarceration. It chronicles his life and experiences up until that time. We are shown Carter’s experiences the way he interprets them and false incidents that never actually occurred. A story of a wronged man who has suffered racial prejudice and injustice is merely a distortion of the real events. We are positioned to see everything through his eyes, the way he wants us to. The author has merely portrayed himself to the audience in such a manner that he would seem to be the victim. A man tried, convicted and jailed but subsequently released is hardly going to position us to see him as guilty.

Neither would enlisting Denzel Washington, Academy award winning actor, well known for his involvement in peace and rights for Black Americans and a Black American himself, to play the role of Carter in the Norman Jewison film The Hurricane. Who better to play the role than Hollywood’s answer for innocence personified? The mere mention of Denzel Washington’s name would bring to mind his position on Black Americans’ fight for justice and equality. This choice in...
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