Birth Of A Nation: A Review - @StrangeKeith
After seeing this film, the first thing I had to do was calm myself down. Rather, attempt to calm myself down. The movie ended 45 minutes ago and I’m still upset. Not upset at the movie itself but at what it portrayed. I think and hope the majority of us are at least somewhat familiar with the horrors of American slavery. Obviously, a part of this country’s history that many of us would not be here had it not occurred. As I think we all know at this point, The Birth Of A Nation tells the story of Nat Turner, a slave, preacher, and leader of the most famous slave rebellion on American soil.
It's been quite a long time since I've had a film make feel quite as deeply as this one did. I sat in the theater as the credits rolled trying to figure just HOW was I even going to be able to put everything into words. Nate Parker's Birth Of A Nation is more of a reflection of race relations across the history of this country than an accurate depiction of Nat Turner's rebellion but I think the message gets across beautifully. Seeing Nat's transformation as he sees more and more of the horrors of slavery outside of his own plantation was reminiscent of all the stories we see told on the news or social media or wherever you get your information, that viewing such injustice over and over again can change a person. Moving out of blissful ignorance to angry knowledge of the truth. I see Parker's film as a direct polar opposite of D.W. Griffith's 1915 film of the same title. For anyone unfamiliar with the original Birth Of A Nation, the gist of the film is a depiction of the KKK coming to rescue the country from an evil mulatto and his army of negroes. It's a three hour silent film that's pretty difficult to sit through but at the time was revolutionary in film and paved the way for Hollywood's model of cinematic storytelling. Parker's film uses that same creative freedom to depict Nat Turner's rebellion (according to historians, the film is very much inaccurate of what really happened). Overall, I thought the film was excellent and very powerful. The look of the movie could have been better but it was good enough that it wasn't distracting. Although, there were a few shots that, as a cinematographer, I thought were pretty amazing. I believe the film is absolutely worth seeing despite personal feelings about Parker's past.