Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Selma: Finally A Martin Luther King Movie!

Selma isn't a perfect movie, but I'm just glad to get a good enough flick about such an important historical figure.
Everybody knows who Martin Luther King Jr. was. He broke racial barriers and changed the way our country perceived humans and their basic rights. Selma is the true story of how Dr. King lead a group of peaceful protesters through the overtly racist state of Alabama in an attempt to push the argument about fair voting practices into law. It's an amazing story; an example of one man proving to have more power than all of the lawmakers and political officials of this country combined. And while it seems less and less likely that any other individual will have the kind of impact that Dr. King did, it is still a welcome lesson in how someone under those conditions may work... and what he or she may have to expect from the power in question.
Ava DuVernay can be proud of the film she made. It shocks and amazes me that this is the first big screen adaptation of Martin Luther King's life. And David Oyelowo gives an excellent performance as the reverend. He has not always been my favorite actor... his part in Rise of the Planet of the Apes comes to mind as a particularly low quality performance. But in Selma, he delivers. He brought back memories of every recording and video I've ever caught of Dr. King. And surely that is a good sign. I liked Carmen Ejogo here as well, though I felt her role called for a little more stimulus. Selma did happen to remark on a very interesting period in their relationship, and I greatly appreciated at least getting a glimpse into that dynamic. But it felt, unfortunately, too short lived. Tim Roth comes through as usual with a very specific quality performance. I'd refer to his role George Wallace as the villain, though he really fills a strange niche. And he shows his darker more disgusting side with an obscure composure. I love to see what good actors can do with such unbelievable and unrelatably true qualities.
At the end of the day, Selma is good enough. Given we've had to wait so long for anybody to even attempt this story on the big screen, I'm very glad to have gotten something at least of this caliber.

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