This is the second page for the review of Amistad. A very powerful film. If you have not read page one, click below to go to the first page of this review.
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Review by David Bruce

Continued from page one.
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     What Yamba is able to learn from the illustrations in the Bible about Jesus is remarkable. He sees Jesus as the great Healer and Protector.   Jesus walking on water has significant meaning because they had crossed the sea. The sea represents a barrier for them, a barrier that Jesus was able to overcome.
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     The intercutting between the church and the prison continues in this very remarkable piece in the film making.   The judge approaches the cross, as does Jesus in the illustrations. Yamba points out that Jesus had his hands tied and was placed on an "auction block" just as they had been. Yamba even perceives Jesus' innocence. The Africans are innocent too.
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     As Jesus reaches the cross, something unknown to the African form of justice, Yamba, at a loss for words, makes the sign of a cross with his finger. This is intercut with the judge crossing himself as he continues to seek direction from God. Very effective, powerful filmmaking.
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     A very effective use of the camera is employed as Yamba explains the resurrection of Jesus Christ from earth into heaven. The camera starts with an overhead downward view of the judge at the cross. Then, there is a cut to a straight shot of Yamba explaining how Jesus was buried in the same way Yamba's people are. Yamba looks up as he describes the resurrection of Jesus. The film cuts back to the judge, this time the camera does an upward shot of the cross, signifying the resurrection.
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     Yamba concludes his story with a vision of heaven. Death, he reasons, is not so bad. If you have no fear of death, what power can anyone have over you? This, by the way, was something Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said to the civil rights marchers.  If you know your destiny it limits the effectiveness of your enemy, and expands your possibilities to near limitlessness. Yamba ends by flipping from a picture of Jesus on the cross to a picture of three empty crosses. This is an important scene because it will be paralleled by three masts on a ship in a coming scene.
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     The following scenes depict the walk to court. Yamba has new eyes. He sees crosses everywhere. He is suddenly aware of those who identify with their struggle to be free.
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     Yamba's head is raised. He has a hope that reaches beyond this evil world, a hope that transcends fear and despair. Yamba sees in the masts of a ship a sign of something very powerful and cosmic. Indeed, that day in court the judge, having sought the face of God for guidance and justice, surprises everyone by freeing the Africans. More fights and victories are needed, however.   For the rest of the will have to watch the film.
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Amistad : 'Give Us Free'
by Steven Spielberg (Editor), Maya Angelou, Debbie Allen, Andrew Cooper (Photographer)
Hardcover - 128 pages
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Amistad: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
by John Williams Soundtrack
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The Dore Bible Illustrations
by Gustave Doré,
Millicent Rose (Designer)

Subject: Amistad
Date: Sun, 22 Apr 2001
From: Mike

The first time I saw this movie was a few years ago. I took a 70+ African American friend to see the film along with my wife, son and daughter. My son is biracial so I was hoping that the experience would be something that my friend would be able to talk about with my son and my family after the movie while eating dinner. The movie was so moving that I am now writing my version of the review some years later. I recently saw this movie again, on video, and was reminded of how great Amistad truly is.

I couldn't say anything more than what David has commented on in his review, what I will say is that one of the true signs of a great film, at least to me is the films ability to hold on to the original feelings. There are a very few films which do that. For me films like Field of Dreams, Life is Beautiful, Chariots of Fire, Children of Heaven, Schindlers List and a few others are there. Amistad is among them. I realize that there may be some that will look at this review, on this site and just trying to figure out whether or not they should check out this movie to rent or purchase. Hopefully this will help inspire you to check out this film. On a scale of 1-10 A very rare 10

Mike Furches

Jan 20, 1999.

Here are my comments. Best film that I've seen in years. Made me proud to be a lawyer. The application of the Gospel to the true story of the freedom fighting slaves amazed me. Reminds me of Bob Dylan's 'Saved' and 'Slow Train' in terms of seeing what a modern media genius can do with the Gospel.