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Amistad

Director:  Steven Spielberg
Year Released:  1997
Rating:  1.5

Spielberg back in his "White Negro" phase - after The Color Purple - and defending the freedom of all people from their oppressors. Bogs itself down with mostly courtroom scenes and long, windy speeches about truth, justice and the American Way, which is not the director's strong suit - not surprisingly, its most affecting scenes are those that occur on the slave ship or those that depict physical maltreatment. By the time Anthony Hopkins - as John Quincy Adams - shows up to mug for the camera, it's been one self-righteous monologue too many. Djimon Hounsou proves he's one of the best actors of his generation when given the right material; his fierce presence might actually make you think some of this matters.

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