Starring: David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Cuba Gooding jr, Oprah Winfrey, Giovanni Ribisi, Tim Roth (Rated M – 128 min).
Selma is a lesser known chronicle of nobleman Martin Luther King over an early period during his endless endeavours to secure equal voting and civil rights movement. Focusing on a walk from Selma to Montgomery; Alabama over a three month period in 1965, expect several intense, disturbing scenes of race-based violence perpetrated against non-violent protesters, stick beatings and whippings.
Sentimentality is apparent from director Ava DuVernay, although does not shy away from striking while the iron is hot on boiling point situations continuing to erupt into fatalities. The crusade is shown as a motivating and realistic representation of a great man amongst the harsh atrocities from racial disturbers of the peace.
Feeling a strong urge for the story to be told, Oprah Winfrey was a large benefactor of the film getting made, she also has a small starring role which proves her impressive return to the big screen in ”The Butler’ was no flash in the pan. That Oscar-nominated Colour Purple magical acting talent remains commendable.
David Oyelowo is dynamic as Mr King, his delivery of the monologues are realistic and powerful, while smaller family emotions are conveyed with just as much passion. His performance stays with you, reminding me to some extent of Denzel Washington’s portrayal of Malcom X.
Suited better towards mature viewers, some facts have been changed although aspects would show younger viewers a significant part of visionary American history that changed the world in many ways to this day. An infidelity subplot defers from proceedings but does reaffirm nothing is sacred throughout this heavy drama.
After a shaky opening stanza, the end result is inspirational cinema, that if nothing else enhances the early years of Martin Luther King to be the great man he grew into.
Shane A. Bassett