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DVD: The Birth of a Nation — portentous and violent

DVD: The Birth of a Nation — portentous and violent

DVD: The Birth of a Nation — portentous and violent
April 21
18:50 2017
Booking.com


Directed by Nate Parker, 2016

20th Century Fox

First there was the adulation at Sundance, then the scorn as historic rape allegations against writer-director-star Nate Parker resurfaced, and finally the apathy as critics and viewers discovered that this biopic of slave rebellion leader Nat Turner wasn’t worthy of the hype.

While nuance might not be the first thing one looks for in a harrowing account of slavery, this portentous, viciously violent film reaches parodic levels of didacticism and emotional signposting.

Parker is interested in hagiography, not humanity; his Turner is not an individual, but a pseudo-messianic paragon. And he keeps the spotlight on himself, leaving supporting actors Armie Hammer and Aja Naomi King with shadows for roles.

It is visually striking — one montage of brutalised victims is haunting despite the almost laughably contrived use of “Strange Fruit” —, but you’d be much better off revisiting the sublime 12 Years a Slave.



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