FREEDOM IS NOT GIVEN. IT IS OUR RIGHT AT BIRTH. BUT THERE ARE SOME MOMENTS WHEN IT MUST BE TAKEN.
In 1839, enslaved Africans take over La Amistad, a Spanish ship heading into American waters, and kill some of the crew; after being caught by the Navy, the Africans end up in court. After making Schindler’s List (1993), Steven Spielberg tackled slavery with this reality-based story, painting it as a forerunner to the Civil War. Historians have questioned that, and there are several other credibility issues here. The greatest problem though is the film’s lack of dramatic heft; it’s long and talky. Still, John Williams’s music is powerful and the film has great performances, especially Djimon Hounsou in his breakthrough.
1997-U.S. 152 min. Color. Widescreen. Directed by Steven Spielberg. Screenplay: David Franzoni. Cinematography: Janusz Kaminski. Music: John Williams. Cast: Morgan Freeman (Theodore Joadson), Anthony Hopkins (John Quincy Adams), Matthew McConaughey (Roger Sherman Baldwin), Nigel Hawthorne, Djimon Hounsou, David Paymer… Pete Postlethwaite, Stellan Skarsgård, Anna Paquin, Jeremy Northam, Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Trivia: Co-produced by Spielberg and Debbie Allen. Ejiofor’s film debut. Former Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun plays a judge in the film.