The grave error here is that the story of Nat Turner's rebellion is a legend that stands alone in American history; yet writer/director Nate Parker focuses an overwhelming majority of this film on the underwhelming generic story elements that audiences have seen time after time in movies of this particular niche. The unique element of Nat Turner--his rebellion--sees hardly any screen time in Parker's rendition.
Pour son premier long métrage, le réalisateur Nate Parker s'attaque à un sujet aussi essentiel que sensible et échoue malheureusement à en restituer toute la profondeur historique. Chronique complète sur Citazine : http://www.citazine.fr/article/birth-nation-une-revolte-decevante
Il y a dans le personnage de Nate Turner incarné par Nate Parker une fragilité qui se transforme peu en peu en force, en rage, jusqu'à tout dévaster. La mise en scène est à l'unisson de cette plongée dans l'esclavagisme, qui rappelle avec puissance ce que signifie qu'un homme en possède un autre.
Disappointment. Cliched delivery of many-layered material. Director draws Nat as a prophet avoiding all the questionable things he made during revolt and, especially, consequences of them, which probably postponed abolishment of slavery. Focus on this could make film better. But story aside, cinematography and score are also mawkish, used cheaply only to force tears. Average product of 2016, not a film for years.
Even if Oscar hopes weren't dashed by Parker's rape scandal, Birth would still be a sham, a film whose mediocrity is more painful for being so self-important. Parker's stated influence was Mel Gibson, and he picks up Gibson's problematic traits—messiah complex, fetishistic violence, bludgeoning simplicity—without the craft. As for characterizations and historical atmosphere, you could puncture them with a pencil.
Nate Parker produced, directed, wrote and stars in this bio-pic of the slave uprising in Virginia in 1831. Having just been immersed in the dungeons of the Portuguese/Dutch slaving centre Elmina in Ghana, the largest in West Africa, one never ceases to be amazed at our nihilistic cruelty to fellow humans. It is an interesting record but he fails to develop the depth of the characters around him.
A digressive narrative dilutes the films sensitivity to its subject matter, rendering instead moments of supposed emotional gravitas. This is where emotional manipulation trumps sensible storytelling. Overall rather well shot and paced besides ventures into pseudo surrealism. 63/100 - Decent. (2.5)
Instead of Braveheart in a southern plantation the cinema of this film was revealed to be a student film version of passion of the Christ. For what was supposed to be a slave rebellion in the revolutionary sense there was very little time spent with the interactions and relationships between the slaves themselves especially compared to the time taken to examine the motivations of the masters between each other.
3/10. There's little to praise craft-wise here in this technically sloppy rendition of some excellent historical source material. Overused handheld camera, bizarre shot choices, over-editing and mediocre acting make this a very dull two hours. Much more could have been done with religious iconography and parallels to our own time.
Though clearly a work of passion, this film has one major problem: it spends too much time covering the history we already know about, and too little time covering the history we don't. The first two-thirds feel practically indistinguishable from "12 Years a Slave." It picks things up in the third act with some dramatic action sequences and better character exploration; but, by then, it's too little too late.
The importance of this tale and its timely telling has been overcome by the director's own history and will not reach the masses it deserves. Mind the filmmaking on display is a little rough and Parker has somewhat turned it into a vanity project as well. The subject would have had more resonance with a more established director (imagine Haile Gerima) but still manages to convey an urgency and sobering resonance.
History rarely explored in Am film or literature (almost absent in film) - Problematic usage of maudlin music - Incisive & direct critique of role religion played in subjugation & pacification of slaves - Recognition & depiction of the historical record of slave revolts/resistance -