Last night, me and my wife and two friends, went to see the movie “The Birth of a Nation.” I’ve looked at some reviews and I need to say on the onset I don’t always go to the movies looking for 100% historical accuracies. If that were the case, I’d never go to a Batman or Superman or Iron Man movie, because they are not historically accurate. A movie (which never said it way historically accurate) is the writer’s interpretation (Jean McGianni Celestin and the star/director/producer, Nate Parker).
The movie is the story of Nat Turner, who led a slave rebellion in Southhampton County, Virginia, played brilliantly by Parker. You note the evolution of Parker’s “ministry” as a “negro preacher” who was brought in to several slave encampments to teach the slaves how to obey their masters. Noticeably, the more he preached the larger his “honorarium,” which went to his slave master to help pay off his debts, grew.
As a pastor, watching the theme of the evolution of the preacher was remarkable. After he and his master, Samuel Turner (Armie Hammer) were led to a slave pen, two slaves were being held there because of their own hunger strike. And after watching the brutality of how these slaves were tortured and force fed, Nat Turner, then a change of heart, tone, and a personal mission ensues.
Torture of slaves is maximized in this movie. The lynchings are “in your face” and scenes of rape, torture, brutality, and murder are intense. For the reason to get your attention . . . it met its goal. The theatre was in stone silence at the completion of the movie as the credits rolled.
After the movie, we sat down in the restaurant area of the theatre and we had to talk. This is a movie that sparks conversation and for me, it was decompression after viewing such a powerful movie. This movie is not for the faint of heart.
Again, it’s not historically accurate but it is Oscar contention worthy.