Saturday, July 23, 2011

REVIEW: Amazing Grace (2006)

Director: Michael Apted
Starring: Ioan Gruffud, Michael Gambon, Rufus Sewell, Benedict Cumberbacht, Romola Garai

This was very good, and one of those movies you watch just for how gripping and hooky it is. It's a story set in the 1700s as influential English politician William Wilberforce crusades to abolish slavery. There are a lot of characters here, and maybe the only reason this doesn't get a full 5 is because they do kind of get confusing to keep track of at times - blame the powdered wigs. But either way this was still a really good film. It's a good story that shows a lot about people, how they are resilient to change, caught up in their ways, but eventually do see the greater good. Even if it does take them a while. Ioan Gruffud is a great actor with a ton of charisma, and I'm surprised this is the first time I've seen him in a movie. Other veterans like Michael Gambon and Rufus Sewell do a good job, too. Romola Garai as his love interest Barbara is really great, and had a lot of charisma. I was disappointed when they relegated her to a more typical 'wife' role by the end. That’s something I never like in movies – if you want to you’re your female character a domestic stay at home wife, do that; but don’t take a previously interesting character and relegate her to such a passive position.

But rest of the film really is quite excellent. Mostly this is just a fast paced, engaging tale that skips briskly and misses not a step throughout the whole thing. Everything feels very authentic and the emotions run as high as the sky, creating a passionate and engaging piece of film. Very good cinema. Powerful and consistently interesting throughout. You will care about everything Wilberforce is rallying for like you were there in the thick of it.