Emancipation (2022) Movie Review

what’s going on to all my movie fans out there and welcome back to my channel my name is Elliot and this is movie files today we are back discussing a new historical action film by the name of emancipation which follows a runaway slave who forges through the swamps of Louisiana on a torturous journey to escape plantation owners that nearly killed them now the film is based on a true story and based on Gordon or also known as with Peter a former slave whose photograph of his bareback showing the years of brutal treatment when published worldwide

in 1863 which provided the proof of the cruelty of American slavery got a chance to see the film in theaters and I have a lot to say about this movie and by the end this review I’ma let you all know if it’s worth checking out we’ll be discussing that and so much more in today’s spoiler-free breakdown but before we get into today’s topics if you all haven’t already consider subscribing to the channel and hitting that notification Bell that way you all can stay up to date with all my daily movie reviews you can also give

your boy a follow on Instagram Tick Tock and Twitter all those links can be found in the description of this very video which Speaking of this video if you made it to the end and

if you enjoyed my review make sure you’re hitting that thumbs up sharing the review but more importantly once you’ve seen this film let’s talk about it in the comments I’m talking pros and cons but also directions cinematography score performances story narrative how did you feel while watching this film and let’s talk about it all in the comments below so I’m gonna

be honest with you all I’m gonna truly do my best to be as critical on the film both in a positive light in a negative light and focusing on the filmmaking the story The performances and putting my personal feelings about the film aside but when it comes to acknowledging how I felt about the movie while watching it we’ll get into those topics once we get to that point in the review but with all that being said let’s get into the breakdown and let’s start off by talking about the director Antoine Fuqua who I’ve been a

fan of for a very long time and I’ve truly admired his work from starting off as a music video director for artists such as Tony Braxton Stevie Wonder and Prince to him making his directory debut in 98’s the replacement killer so I’m a fan of his action films his Thriller is one of my favorite films of all time his training day I think Antoine Fuqua is a great director and I say all that to say that all those projects have led him to this point of his career in making this movie which I do think

he makes some really brilliant directional choices now I do question some things that we’ll discuss later but as the filmmaking goes he truly outdoes himself here are some shots in which he captures our main character Peter on this very visceral journey of freedom and moments of action that felt very suspenseful and there is a depiction of war in this movie that I thought Rivals some of the best war movies I’ve seen in recent memory and you pair that with one of the greatest cinematographers of our time and Robert Richardson who captures the horrors of slavery

and has some incredible shots of Peter in the swamps and again that war scene was just is stunning it was also a very creative choice to make this film mostly in black and white which I found to be interesting and not entirely sure on why they chose to do that or truly understand why they chose that method but I felt as though when the film moves along and when Peter got closer to his freedom we kind of transitioned into the color of the film so I truly do think that this is one of the best

looking films I’ve seen all year pair that with a great score I say all that to say I think the film is really well made as far as aesthetically in the production of the film now moving on to the performances which I thought were okay a lot of the character stuff is really more boiled down to Will Smith’s character but with that being said I did think that Charmaine Benoit who plays Peter’s wife who did the best with the little bit that she was given but really the film was focused on Peter and Will Smith’s

character which just addressed an elephant in the room is regarding my thoughts on Will Smith and the whole slap situation which I know there’s some people out there that won’t even watch this film because of what he did because they haven’t forgotten or forgiven him and I understand that but for me personally I’ve been a lifelong fan Will Smith since I was a kid watching Fresh Prince of Bel-Air I’ve seen all his films fought the man’s CDs and for 30 plus years of his career I don’t think it should be a race for a situation

which he was 100 wrong and doing but doesn’t remove him as one of my favorite talents of all time which that being said I believe this is one of his most committed roles that we’ve seen him in to date to me I mentioned in my out of theater reaction to this film that it reminded me a little bit of his performance in I Am Legend which when he was playing that character it was really relying on his performance and his actions more so than it was being like dialogue heavy and it’s a similar thing going

on in this film because there’s not a lot of dialogue in the first hour plus of this film but more of him speaking with his eyes and him physically speaking with his actions especially when he’s on the run so while I don’t think this is Will Smith’s best performance of all time I do think that he truly committed in this role go and gave it all that he had and like I had mentioned I’m a fan of Will Smith and I follow a lot of his career and I know that he’s never really wanted to

play a slave and a slave film especially if you all know he was supposed to be Django instead of for Jamie Foxx and Quentin Tarantino’s film Django Unchained so I’m gonna play you all a quick clip of Will Smith talking about why he never chose those roles and why this was the perfect time for him to play this character as an actor when I when I started you know Choosing My roles I I want to do send me the same script you would send Tom Cruise my mindset I wanted to depict Us in the highest

International Global light Avery didn’t fit into my mindset read this screenplay connected to the visceral emotion I had with the image of whipped Peter and I started to see something Beyond a Slavery movie this so let me know what you all thought about that clip in the comments below but let’s talk about the journey and the themes of this film now I I’ll discuss this more in depth a little bit later in the review of how I felt that there was another film while watching this that I had in mind based on the photo when

Peter but as far as what we got there is a level of appreciation to seeing Peter’s journey through the swamps to Louisiana and seeing him push through everything thrown at him to get back to his family and fight for their freedom and I can honestly say at times the film can be motivating it can be inspiring it can be very uplifting at points and there’s also an element of how the film shows Peter and his faith and how he really relied on his faith and rather you’re a Believer or not just seeing him leaning on

his faith during some very impossible task and the way that the film handles that Faith aspect being such a force to keep Peter moving forward in the way it was handled to me comes together pretty well now there’s also some emotional moments that I felt that were earned now of course this is not an easy film to watch and to see in the horrors of slavery and them recall creating Peter taking that photograph and the history behind it really got to me and I’ll also say again going back to Antoine Fuqua and his filmography being

an action type of director there were some action beats that I wasn’t expecting this film this isn’t you know an action film per se but there are some moments in which we see Peter on the run that was very suspenseful and again I’m gonna say it once again there is a war scene in this film that was top-notch so those my main positives that I have to say about the film now let’s talk about my criticisms and right off the bat I felt the script did a complete disservice to the weight of the subject matter

and the impact of that photograph now the screenwriter of this film is Bill collage you might know him from Assassin’s Creed and I’m gonna be honest with you all I don’t think he was the right man for the job I thought that there was a much more compelling film within this movie based off that photo I thought the film should have started off with the photo of Peter taking the photo and him having like a moment of uh like a vignettes in flashbacks of him going back to when he was a slave to him being

on that journey and cutting back to the present I don’t say present day but within him taking a photo and really showing the impact of what that photograph did to America at the time and the film does not do that y’all instead it spins the first two halves of this movie mainly and solely focusing on him getting sold and him getting separated from his family to him escaping and fighting his way through the swamps to get into a war and after that there’s more that goes down and we’ll talk about that a little bit later

but to address the pacing and the story way the story unfolds from this slave running film to a war film which again was the best part of the movie it felt like it was disjointed and some elements felt like they were rushing they were just going through the motions so again the screenplay the writing was really bad in this movie and I wanted to talk about a little bit more of the performances I talked about it briefly up top as far as I’m positive but Ben Foster he’s in his film and I think he’s an

incredibly talented individual I think he’s a really underrated actor but when it comes to this script it did not do him any favors because I felt his character to be very extremely flat and interesting and ultimately very dull they attempt to give you a better understanding of why he became a slave Chaser and give you a backstory of him but honestly I found that to be flat and again I like Ben Foster but I thought he was also pretty bad in the role so he was one of the characters and one of the actors that

again great actor but just wasn’t suited for this role but again the script didn’t do him any favors one more little thing that I want to mention before we really get into my issues with the film The accents weren’t that great especially very early on I believe Will Smith was doing like a Haitian accent but it it eventually it settles out and you you just kind of forget about it but it’s pretty rough at times and kind of other characters throughout the film with accents are kind of in and out throughout the film little minor

thing but it’s something that kind of comes to mind but I put my personal feelings aside and gave you all my honest review critical thoughts positive and negative but now it’s time to kind of have the talk and have the conversation about my major issues that I have this film and I’m gonna play you all a quick clip of Will Smith talking about what he believes this film is about a Slavery movie this is a freedom movie this is a faith movie this is a love movie this is an endurance movie so let me know

what you all thought about that clip especially once you’ve seen the film but I’m gonna strongfully disagree and respectfully disagree with Will Smith’s comments because this is 100 a Slave movie bulk of this film is a slave film from the opening scene of him being sold off and being beaten up while that’s happening to him going to this new location and seeing some truly horrific things from black men heads being on spikes as a warning sign to black men getting shot in the head point blank from making simple mistakes to even moments when where you’re

seeing someone being decapitated their head being decapitated I know Art’s subjective and I know how especially when people make art and how they feel about it what they poured their heart and soul and what their intentions were but I don’t want y’all to be I don’t want to say fool but I want y’all to be misdirected in those comments sure there’s a love story it’s a story about faith it’s a story about perseverance and pushing through and a lot of that happens in the film a lot of the love angle is more in the last

15 minutes of the film but this film ultimately is a Slave movie so I just wanted to let you all know that and I say that to say I know a lot of people as me being one of them has had enough of these type of films and how Hollywood portrays slavery and how it seems like every year there’s shows about it there’s movies about it and how it creates a sense of trauma and to have that conversation and brings us to the question about these types of films and the Very Thin Line Between showing

the true nature of slavery and what it encompasses versus crossing the line and some might even say it might be torture porn now to me there’s a way to show horrific cruelty in a way in which it leaves it up to the imagination of its audience watching but this film doesn’t do that to me a lot of the time in this film I found it to be unnecessary to show a lot of the things they chose to put into the screen for example like I mentioned there’s heads on spikes there’s dogs ripping into skin of

a black man and later followed up by him being eaten by an alligator it to me crosses the line of being over excessive and showing the violence and listen when it comes to a person like me who grew up watching horror films and watching violent things take place on the screen I’m able to separate that because it’s fictional Freddy Krueger Jason all of them are not real people right but then when you bring it into this genre all based on reality and real life to me the way the film handles that aggressiveness and handles the

cruelty and handles the inhumane nature of Slavery to me was just overboard everyone might have their opinion on it that’s just how I personally feel now I applauded Will Smith’s performance and his commitment to the role earlier in this review but I have to admit to you all when it comes to Will Smith in this role I felt like Will Smith the man the act of the personality overshadowed the character examples being the film establishes very early on that these slave owners didn’t play any games when it came to making a simple mistake or if

you said something wrong to them there was no questions you were going to be shot and killed no questions asked but when it came to Peter’s character we would see Peter fight these unnecessary battles or even being defiant and his actions didn’t have the same consequences and it took me out of the films a lot of the time and it felt more like he had a plot armor on him because he’s Will Smith the leading man in the film not to sound facetious but at points it came off as he was a superhero slave who

could survive anything even being attacked by an alligator to picking up a gun for the first time and knowing how to shoot and aim and have crazy good accuracy so again it felt like the filmmakers and I feel like Will Smith himself took some creative Liberties into portraying this character Peter which to me was a disservice and kind of made it unbelievable at points then again it brings me back to ultimately I go back to the screenplay and the story isn’t strong enough to support and play respects or honor or pay tribute to the historical

image and the man and for the foundation of this movie I ultimately think there’s a better story behind this film and it missed the opportunity to explore that story so with that being said we’re we’re gonna wrap it up here and before we get into my final thoughts my score if you’re still here at this point in review I appreciate you all just a reminder to like share comment subscribe overall there are moments of brilliant filmmaking from Antoine Fuqua and the cinematography is fantastic Will Smith does really commit into the role and gives an incredible

physical performance but I can’t honestly say this is a film worth checking out and it has nothing to do with what happened what Will Smith did earlier this year but all to do with the story and the decisions made and depicting the events surrounding Peter’s journey to his family to fighting for his own Freedom I’m gonna give emancipation a 2.5 out of 5. as I’m shooting this it’s available in theaters now and it’s going to be available worldwide on Apple TV Plus on December 9th so take my thoughts on the film as you will and

watch it and when you do and if you don’t let me know why if you do watch it let me know how you felt about it Pros cons listen I don’t know if you can disagree with someone’s feelings on the film but if you do have some disagreements with me about my other opinions in the movie let’s talk about it respectfully in the comments below I thank you all for watching this review again just a friendly reminder before you all leave to like the video share the video comment below subscribe to the channel hit that

notification Bell that way you don’t miss out on any of my future reviews thank you again hope you’re staying safe as you all can see on the screen now come and join the community check out my other reviews that I’ve done for this year check out my most recent review and we’ll catch you all on the next breakdown thank you

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