Ill Gotten Gains
Mr F T Musikavanhu | London, United Kingdom | 11/25/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I saw this film on video after having seen "Amistad" at the cinema. I am now buying it on DVD. There are many parallels between the two but obvious differences as this feature blends the supernatural with a moving piece of fact based drama and makes use of interesting dramatic devices, such as present day colloquialisms and street talk to give the film its own distinct identity.The story unfolds in the post civil war era, when slavery was outlawed in America and the trade in slaves abolished by much of Europe. In the year 1869 a group of slave merchants exploit the demand for cheap labour (implicitly to revive the war damaged Southern economy) by smuggling captured Africans to underground markets in the United States. En route to America the captives are visited by the voice of a wood spirit resident in the wood the ship was made from. It exhorts them to make good their escape while they are not too far from home. This is taken up by one of their number, Fyah who assumes leadership and initiates the struggle.Eartha Kitt's mesmerising but authoritative tones are the "spirit of the wood" and Djimon Hounsou, featured in Spielberg's "Amistad" and Ridley Scott's "Gladiator" is this film's "Cinque" - Fyah. Both are memorable in a strong cast playing in relatively new theme to Hollywood, the struggle of the African against slavery. In this aspect it is more compelling than Spielberg's effort but still more could be done to capture the real African attitude to slavery and offer insight to the structure of the various African socities from which these captives came. Here Spielberg's film incorporated language, dance, slight flashbacks and other cultural idiosyncracies.A good film for a look at post war American relations with Africa and its descendants which would make Amistad a complimentary "prequel"."
Continuing a bit on the last review...
Gabriel Pérez D. | Chicago, IL United States | 01/28/2002
(2 out of 5 stars)
"2 & 1/2 starsThe concept is great, the idea of making it in black and white, the realism and the balls to produce it and market it to hollywood. Maxium respect, but some of the acting in this film was totally lagged or overacted (I apply no examples, so I won't ruin the film). All through the movie I got a sense of boredom even though I felt the film was important to be seen. (I do own the DVD (which I bought used on pure curosity)). Amistad was/is hyped and was fairly done, this movie had greater intentions and had the heart but lacked the will and artistic union of the heart and the soul to create a bolder vision such as the one section in the movie (which should have been taken as a means to create the rest of the movie) the "puppet show" scene. Great try, COULD have been GREAT. DO SEE THIS MOVIE FOR THE CONTENT."
Ill Gotten Gains
J. A. Ward | MI | 11/10/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)
"The subject was too important to be done in such an unprofessional manner. It appears that the producer and director must have been very new at producing movies. I am sadden that such an important topic and story was so poorly done."