HIS GREATEST FIGHT WAS FOR JUSTICE.
In the early 1980s, a Brooklyn kid (Vicellous Reon Shannon) living in Toronto becomes interested in the case of Rubin ”Hurricane” Carter (Denzel Washington), the middleweight boxer who was sent to prison in 1966 after a triple murder. One of Norman Jewison’s last films follows in the tradition of In the Heat of the Night (1967) as it tells the story (so vividly dramatized in Bob Dylan’s classic song ”Hurricane”) of the boxer who spent almost 20 years in jail after being wrongfully convicted. The film was criticized for taking too many liberties, but is still an engaging and emotional experience. A towering performance by Washington, going rounds with his inner demons in prison.
1999-U.S. 125 min. Color. Produced by Armyan Bernstein, Norman Jewison, John Ketcham. Directed by Norman Jewison. Screenplay: Armyan Bernstein, Dan Gordon. Books: Rubin ”Hurricane” Carter (”The 16th Round”), Sam Chaiton, Terry Swinton (”Lazarus and the Hurricane”). Cast: Denzel Washington (Rubin ”Hurricane” Carter), Vicellous Reon Shannon (Lesra Martin), Deborah Kara Unger (Lisa Peters), Liev Schreiber, John Hannah, Debbi Morgan… Dan Hedaya, Clancy Brown, David Paymer, Rod Steiger.
Golden Globe: Best Actor (Washington). Berlin: Best Actor (Washington).
Last word: “People say [to me] ‘I don’t know whether you showed the rage [in the film]’ But I think all those scenes in solitary, when he’s struggling with his own demons, when we show him struggling with his own rage, they’re very powerful scenes. I think it’s one of the best parts of the film for me and I think it’s some of the best acting in the film, I think what Denzel did in those scenes is just brilliant. It’s not too often in a film we see a character playing different parts and arguing with himself. This is pretty original stuff. I think Denzel’s said what I felt the first time I met Rubin Carter. After I decided to direct the film I spent 4 or 5 hours with Rubin, we were walking in the woods and I was amazed, ‘Where’s the anger, where’s the angst, where’s the rage? God, you were locked away for 19 years for something you didn’t do, your career was ruined, your family destroyed, why aren’t you angry?’ and he said, ‘Rage only consumes the vessel which contains it’.” (Jewison, The Guardian)