Movie Reviews

Published on October 7th, 2016 | by Don Guillory

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Birth Of A Nation

America was not born with the landing of the Mayflower. It was not born at Jamestown. It was not born with the Declaration of Independence or Treaty of Paris. It wasn’t born on the battlefields of the Civil War, nor was it born with D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation in 1915. America was born in the fire and spilt blood from the institution of slavery and revolts by slaves seeking to break free. Nat Turner’s revolt was an omen to America signifying that human beings would no longer tolerate being subjugated, dehumanized, brutalized, and degraded without some form of pushback.

Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation tells a full story of Nat Turner and does not simply rely on the revolt to convey his message of a call for equality and fighting injustice. It is emblematic of resistance to the many sins this nation has committed. The film and story are a punch to the gut reminding Americans that there is much left unfinished with respect to telling the full story of slavery and American history as a whole. There is much of our past that we must reconcile with no matter how uncomfortable. Parker’s film demonstrates the power film has as historical record and permitting audiences to have a greater idea and picture of the past.

The Birth of A Nation allows audiences to become consumed with the horrors of slavery, but it is not limited to that aspect. It humanizes the slaves and demonstrates cultural aspects and relationships that have often gone ignored or overlooked with previous films. It does not rely on sensationalizing events in order to drive the points home. There is subtlety and honesty in the portrayal of the events and circumstances.

This is a film that will have audiences speechless at the end as the come to terms with their emotions about events as they unfold and coming to terms with what the witnessed onscreen. There is nothing that can prepare audiences for this film. It is a work of art that you cannot help but feel compelled to reflect on what you witnessed.

There are those who will not see the film due to the subject matter. There are others who won’t see it because of the sexual assault allegations against Nate Parker. There are many who won’t see it out of a pure lack of interest. Regardless of your stance, this is a film that needs to be seen. It is essential to telling a more complete story about America.

4.5/5


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