27 January 2015

Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace 2006
  • Director: Michael Apted
  • Based on novel: no
  • Cast: Ioan Gruffudd, Romola Garai, Benedict Cumberbatch, Albert Finney, Michael Gambon, Rufus Sewell, Yassou N’Dour, Ciarian Hinds, Toby Jones, Nicholas Farrell, Sylvestra Le Touzel, Jeremy Swift, Richard Ridings
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Ioan Gruffudd  King Arthur, Very Annie Mary, Great Expectations, Titanic, Wilde
    • Romola Garai – King Lear, Atonement, As You Like It, Inside I’m Dancing, Daniel Deronda
    • Benedict Cumberbatch – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Creation, Atonement, To Kill a King
    • Albert Finney – A Good Year, Big Fish, Traffic, Erin Brockovich, Breakfast of Champions, Cold Lazarus, Karaoke, Miller’s Crossing, Murder on the Orient Express, Tom Jones
    • Michael Gambon – Quirk, Quartet, Harry Potter, The King’s Speech, The Book of Eli, Brideshead Revisited, Cranford, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Being Julia, Angels in America, Gosford Park, Longitude, Sleepy Hollow, Mary Reilly, A Dry White Season
    • Rufus Sewell – The Tourist, The Holiday, Paris je t’aime, The Taming of the Shrew (retold), A Knight’s Tale, Hamlet, Cold Comfort Farm, Middlemarch
    • Yassou N’Dour – as a musician
    • Ciarian Hinds – The Woman in Black, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Harry Potter, Hustle, Margot at the Wedding, Hallam Foe, Phantom of the Opera, Calendar Girls, Road to Perdition, Jane Eyre, Cold Lazarus, Mary Reilly
    • Toby Jones – The Hunger Games, My Week with Marilyn, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Frost/Nixon, The Mist, Mrs. Henderson Presents, Finding Neverland, Ladies in Lavender, Hotel Splendide, Ever After, Les Misérables, Naked, Orlando
    • Nicholas Farrell – Driving Lessons, Sex Chips and Rock’n’Roll, Hamlet, Twelfth Night, Othello, In the Bleak Midwinter
    • Sylvestra Le Touzel – Mr. Turner, Case Histories, Happy-Go-Lucky, Kiss Me Kate
    • Jeremy Swift – Boy A, To Kill a King, Gosford park
    • Richard Ridings  Merlin, Creation, Macbeth (retold), The Brothers Grimm, The Pianist, Clockwise
  • Why?  Of great historical interest
  • Seen:  January24, 2015 (after reading about the 18th century movements in A People’s History of London by Lindsey German and John Rees, I felt it was time to take the DVD off the waiting shelf and watch it)
Money interests equal financial power versus equality and human rights. We could be talking about today’s climate disaster.  Amazing Grace is about the movement in the late 18th century against Britain’s slave trade, upon which the empire grew vastly wealthy.
William Wilberforce was one of the driving individuals in the movement. The film focuses on how he drove himself to collapse in the struggle.
There are moments of humour. The dockside settings and the ships are impressive. It’s very dramatic and victory, when it finally comes, brings tears to the eye. The cast is generally strong, though Benedict Cumberbatch is miscast. I don’t understand all the current hype around him but I haven’t seen him in his recent roles so maybe I’m missing something.  Rufus Sewell, on the other hand, is always excellent and here he is outstanding as the long-haired revolutionary Thomas Clarkson. Vive Rufus!
The anti-slave traders won against the profiteering slave traders in the end.  Maybe environmental activists trying to save the earth will also win against profiteering energy corporations?  It’s up to us, isn’t it: do we have William Wilberforce and Thomas Clarkson in us?

4 * of 5

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