Classic Elsternwick - Monday 09 February 2015, 7:00pm
Running time: 127m
Country: United States
Classification: M (Violence and coarse language)
Release date: 12/02/15
Cost: $0.00 (complimentary tickets)
Rating: 6.5/10 (ME 3/10, DP 3.5/5)
Set against a civil rights struggle for African Americans in Alabama to register to vote in the 1960s, Selma sees Martin Luther King Jr (David Oyelowo) lead a movement to change the attitudes of the authorities. Fighting against the apathy of the president to rush changes through while trying to unite the fragmented priorities of the civil rights protestors, the town of Selma becomes the epicentre for change. Meanwhile, Martin tries to balance his priorities between the greater cause and the needs of his wife and young family.
The performances are strong though much of the dialogue seems a bit too deliberate. Selma lacks finesse and relies on showing the brutality of the injustice to make its point rather than being more subtle. There are many filmmaking cliches used here; all it needed was a spinning newspaper and a montage to complete the set. HoweverSelma is simply an engaging story that is well told, though we came out of it feeling educated rather than entertained. It’s hard not to empathise with the characters as they experience many brutal set-backs before the film comes to a predictable (though genuinely moving) conclusion.
There has been much talk about Selma being snubbed at the awards. Personally, an Oscar nomination for best picture can hardly be considered a snub. Selma hasn’t been nominated for any acting though which is more a reflection on the large ensemble cast rather than relying on a small number of leads. Ava DuVernay’s direction is clear, but the script could have done with a bit of editing and to tighten things up. Recommended. (ME)
87th Academy Awards
72nd Golden Globe Awards