Cert: 12A Runtime: 128 mins Director: Ava DuVernay Cast: David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tim Roth, Tom Wilkinson, Common, Oprah Winfrey and Cuba Gooding Jr
We must March!, We Must Stand up!
The tale of Martin Luther King Jr. is one that we have heard through the majority of our lives. I have been fortunate enough to delve even deeper into his work and history during my university time. No one can doubt he was a great man. Selma has been creeping up for a while now and I am very excited to watch it. What is Selma about? Spring, 1965. The small town of Selma, Alabama, has become the unlikely flashpoint for the struggle for racial equality. Astute strategist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Martin Luther King Jr (David Oyelowo) knows that the most effective use of non-violence is to provoke a violent response. He selects Selma for a protest march because of its racist governor George Wallace (Tim Roth) and the brutality of its police force.
Ava DuVernay, whose only other films are a couple of low-key dramas, explodes into the big-leagues with a beautifully shot-and-edited period piece. Characterized by dark interiors, fresh angles, loads of brilliant tracking shots, and absorbing slow-motion, Selma is an uncharacteristically artistic biopic, one that isn’t afraid of being creative with such sacred material. The score and soundtrack are pretty underwhelming for the most part, except for a few powerful musical choices during the more violent sequences. David Oyelowo is unbelievable as Martin Luther King. He looks just like him, he speaks just like him, and his screen presence is undeniably powerful. His is possibly my favorite lead male performance of the year, Academy be damned. The only other actor who comes close to his level is Tom Wilkinson as LBJ.
The movie does lag in sections making it uneven with its pacing. I also feel Tim Roth feels out of place. Maybe it was the accent or something else entirely, but he felt off in the movie. It has very powerful imagery mainly of the violence distributed by the police. It can be very harsh and difficult to watch, but this is what they did! We should never forget the stupidity of our ancestors and what they did. The slick and vivacious manner in which “Selma” is assembled is thanks to the genius people behind the camera. Cinematographer Bradford Young is just too great at what he does at this point in his career. With another stunning framing form in J.C. Chandor’s “A Most Violent Year,”I do feel like I respect this film more than I liked it, it’s an important part of American history and should be viewed. It’s not a re-watchable film neither!