The Hurricane

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  • Topic: The Hurricane, Denzel Washington, Rubin Carter
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Film Critique of “The Hurricane”
David Hickox
ENG 225
Jared Kline
August 20, 2012

Film Critique of “The Hurricane”
The movie, “The Hurricane” premiered in 1999 starring Denzel Washington and was directed by Jason Jewison. This film is based on a true story of Ruben “Hurricane” Carter. This film is based on a biography titled “Hurricane: The Miraculous Journey of Rubin Carter” that was written by James S. Hirsch (Jones, 2000). The story starts in the mid 60’s when racial prejudice was still very high, and many where looking to keep the black man “in his place”, including a corrupt police lieutenant (Dan Hedaya) that had disliked Ruben for many years and had arrested him twice before. The story is a drama that unfolds in chronological order, but jumps back and forth to show how “Hurricane” remembers things, primarily during his stay in Trenton State Prison (where he is the majority of the movie), and to the 1980’s when Lesra Martin, a Brooklyn teenager (Vicellous Shannon) living in Canada reads an autobiography called The 16th Round and decides he wants to help the “Hurricane.” A question that comes to mind is, how does an innocent person survive 20 years in prison dealing with confinement, physical deprivation, the rage of other inmates and the anger he hold for this injustice that at times leads to great despair. As “The Hurricane” shows, there is really no one way to do this. At times he had to cut himself off from the possibility and hope of getting out. At other times he had grab onto the hope and dream that freedom was possible, by connecting with people that wanted to help and encouraged him to keep fighting for what is right. The selection of Denzel Washington as the lead actor and star and protagonist could not have been better. Denzel uses his professional acting abilities to draw the audience in with his tremendous dedication to portraying himself as Ruben “Hurricane” Carter, a middle weight boxing contender that is unjustly imprisoned for murder. “The Hurricane” uses a tremendous actor, and an experienced director that make incredible use of the state of the art cinematography, an abundant editing techniques, and great precision in the proper usages of sound..

The plot to this story is in a chronological order although much of the story is told in a reflective manner based on how “Hurricane” remembers things taking place, and narrates a good deal of the time which aids in keeping the audience aware of the timeframe that the scene is reflecting.. The story takes place in multiple places and covers about a twenty year range of time. The movie setting begins in Patterson, New Jersey in 1966 and begins with a shot of two men’s legs and the barrel of a shot gun hanging down, all in a dark setting as they walk along. The scenes continue with the men walking through a door and then raise their guns; at this point the film cuts to the inside of a bar. The mise en scene consists of a bar with a glass background and many bottles of liqueur, a male bartender, a women standing and a man sitting at the bar which is dimly lit. They turn their heads to see who is entering. The film now cuts back to the barrels of the guns as they fire, and then there is a jump-cut to a man approaching the bar on a dark street. As the story continues it jumps to various scenes that are all done in dark settings. Although, it was night it seems that darkness was intended to bring a dark seediness to these scenes, including one in the hospital where darkness continues. In a very short span there are several jump-cuts which move the action in the show along very quickly. Now the film transitions for time to the activity of Lesra and his getting to go Canada with people that will help him. This is a brief but significant encounter that includes a conflict of its own. The thing Lesra wants more than anything is to go to college. In testing Lesra the Canadians discover that he is very smart, but he cannot read. They are willing to teach...
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