Recent Releases – Selma

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The story of Martin Luther King’s hostile efforts to organise an Alabama protest march in attempts to secure equal voting rights for all races in the USA.

Quite easily one of the best political biopic’s of all time. The timing of this films release, after tragic events such as the Ferguson and Paris shootings, couldn’t be any more relevant (not just for any place in specific but on an international scale) as social, cultural, and racial relations seem to be in a state of unrest and paranoia. It took great noble leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to fight so hard for equal rights that hopefully this film will stand as a reminder to what had already been accomplished. It almost seems as though many have forgotten the challenges countless numbers have faced in order to determine peace within their own country.

Having said that, I’m not a politician so I can’t really go into the ins and outs of the film’s message and the legacy it should have as a political platform but I can look at what makes it so brilliant. Opposed to many other biopic’s, it doesn’t pull any punches in terms of violence or shock factor which help to reach and affect the audience with greater purpose.

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From the uncomfortable reconstruction of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing to violent visceral imagery of the Edmund Pettus Bridge crossing such gut-wrenchingly iconic visuals are brought to life on the big screen with vivid accuracy. In terms of accurate portrayal, the film paints a picture of this extremely challenging social time in US history with such graphic tenacity. It helps to give the viewer a slight idea of how testing it must have been in this moment in history (which should emphasise reflection upon current issues in America).

Something that I’m used to mentioning in my blog as of late is how films feature such incredible performances – and Selma is no exception. David Oyelowo is truly exceptional as MLK to the point I find it shocking that the film has received an Oscar nomination for Best Picture yet he is left empty-handed. Don’t get me wrong, I feel the film fully deserves its nomination, I just find it odd how one of the year’s most impressive and powerful performance’s doesn’t even receive a chance for an Oscar.

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I love how King is portrayed; not as a god-like hero but as an everyday man with everyday frailties and complexities. It shows a man with several flaws and imperfections yet a man willing to courageously stand up and fight for what he believes in. A man who realises he can’t achieve his dreams alone as he willingly accepts help from those close to him. Oyelowo plays this humble and exceptional man with a powerfully poised presence, proving that he is an actor with incredible potential.

The film is astonishingly powerful and should be viewed as a poignant reminder to help relieve tension in difficult areas across the world. I understand this is a bold statement to make but I truly believe the movie is able to carry the weight of any political burden considering it should be regarded as an appropriate historical testament. It represents a stunningly accurate portrayal of one of history’s most difficult times featuring one of history’s most important figures.

5 ‘Dreams’ out of 5

by Simon Garganera Price

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