Action / Drama / History

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 75%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 79%
IMDb Rating 7.3 10 62905


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April 24, 2014 at 08:55 PM


Matthew McConaughey as Roger Sherman Baldwin
Anna Paquin as Queen Isabella
Morgan Freeman as Theodore Joadson
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991.34 MB
23.976 fps
2hr 35 min
P/S 2 / 6
2.17 GB
23.976 fps
2hr 35 min
P/S 4 / 44

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by cinemajesty 7 / 10

The X-Mas Movie for the Masses

Movie Review: "Amistad" (1997)

Director Steven Spielberg fights through visions, creatively-spoken, of an unforgotten U.S. trauma to make sense into a delicate story of the slaveship "Amistad", which brought West African Natives, personified in an overall-intense portrayal by actor Djimon Hounson, story-line supporting further cast as former U.S. president John Quincy Adams in a picture elevating performance by Sir Anthony Hopkins within a 1840s court room designed by Rick Carter and hot-spot-intense daylight-lit by cinematographer Janusz Kaminski, where the movie also produced by Steven Spielberg in the first year of releases under the banner of DreamWorks Pictures (est. 1994) with further budgetary infusions by U.S. pay-TV channel HBO (Home Box Office) to present a 150 minutes motion picture for the bargain of 36 Million U.S. Dollars that lives from the occasional passionate performances by their cast members and one controversial representation of stormy night to day-time business slaveship sequence, where the West African Natives get treated like animals under deck and second rate human beings on deck to skin-splicing, blood-spreading consequences, which handles the director with utmost dramatizing care under punchy sound design, over-done light reflections, yet shying away from an infant death under panicked flesh moving masses and a more delicate-received musical score by John Williams, making "Amistad" a movie to be watched with the family, leading to a gathered discussion on U.S. history over tea.

© 2017 Felix Alexander Dausend (Cinemajesty Entertainments LLC)

Reviewed by catesa 8 / 10

Good Movie for History Buffs - But It Draaaags

I appreciate any movie that is willing to take an honest look at American slavery (I.E. not sugar-coat it with some revisionist "Gone With The Wind" BS), and if you're unfamiliar with the Amistad case, it's an interesting time in history. Anthony Hopkins's monologue at the climax is one of the best pieces of acting I've ever seen. My only rub is that all the courtroom stuff just seems to go on forever. I was a little disappointed that we saw so much of the white people arguing over the Africans and so little about the Africans themselves.

That being said, the middle passage scene is the most heart-wrenching, realistic depiction probably ever shot. You can really understand just how horrific the experience must've been.

Anyways, technically speaking, it's a great film. Check it out, but drink some coffee first, lest you fall asleep with all the courtroom jargon and "white savior" grandeur.

Reviewed by TheLittleSongbird 7 / 10

Uneven film with many great elements

'Amistad' is not one of Steven Spielberg's best, in the way that 'Schindler's List', 'Jaws', 'ET' and 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' are. He has however done worse, with the likes of 'The Lost World' and '1941'. Instead it's around solid middle when it comes to his films.

Starting with the positives, the best things are the production values, coupled with the handsome and evocative period detail and the rich, searing cinematography there are some really arresting images here, and the sensational debut of Dijimon Hounsou, a performance of blistering passion and grave sensitivity.

Throughout, especially in the first three-quarters, 'Amistad' boasts moments that are harrowing (the brutal voyage of the slaves), powerful (the opening scene) and moving (most of the film). The script is well-intentioned and thoughtful, if sometimes a bit over-sentimental and heavy-handed (especially Adams' big speech, that could have been stirring but didn't seem to know how far to go to make its obvious point, so it felt preachy). Much of Spielberg's direction is impeccable, with enough of what makes his direction so great in his best films.

Hounsou isn't the only great actor here. Anthony Hopkins gives his all in an authoritative and stirring account of Adams and Matthew McConaughey shows more engagement and charisma than he does in some of his later films. Morgan Freeman is underused but is as you expect.

On the other hand, 'Amistad' is a long film (not a bad thing necessarily), but could have been about 20 minutes shorter with less characters and some of the final act being trimmed. Some of the latter part of the film drags, and the score disappointingly is over-emphatic and gives a heavy-handedness. Despite being brilliantly delivered by Hopkins and clearly written with thought and good intent Adams' big speech just went too far making its point.

In conclusion, a brave attempt at bringing a significant, if not as well known, event to film that works very well in a lot of elements but just misses the mark of completely working as an overall film. 7/10 Bethany Cox

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