The Birth of a Nation
Directed by Nate Parker
Nat Turner, a former slave in America, leads a liberation movement in 1831 to free African-Americans in Virginia that results in a violent retaliation from whites.
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★★★½ review by Tasha Robinson on Letterboxd
Leaving aside the "this will win all the awards" hype and the really uncomfortable revelations about the director's past (and his kind of awful self-centered statements in response to that history), this prestige picture about Nat Turner's slave rebellion left me fairly mixed. The depiction of American slavery is powerful and painful, but it's also blunt and heavy-handed, and it brings in some symbolism that just seems amateurish. I believe in the writer-director-star's sincerity around it, and I'm impressed with the seven-year effort he put into funding it and bringing it to the screen, in spite of his industry's longstanding apathy about the personal stories of black historical figures. But I still wish this was a debut I was excited about because of sublime filmmaking, rather than because of the accomplishment represented in getting this to the screen at all.
★★★★ review by Ava Davis on Letterboxd
i don't know if my theater's sound was off or if this was legitimately the quietest movie ever made like it literally sounded like asmr i was so confused
★★★★½ review by Nick Da Silva on Letterboxd
In spite of its flaws, The Birth Of A Nation is a raw, visceral, important historical drama with strong performances and stunning sequences, all guided by the steady hand of director Nate Parker.
★★★½ review by willmoviefan97 on Letterboxd
When it's at its best moments, "The Birth of a Nation" makes for what is a pretty harrowing and moving tale of the fight for freedom, rightfully refusing to ever shy away from the sheer brutality of this subject mater. It's as a whole an admirable and promising directorial debut for Nate Parker, one well accomplished from all technical standpoins, but one that also feels very much so in the hands of a first time director. It can get so heavy handed that I think it really derails a lot of the emotional impact of it all, and can't help, but feel a bit thin on characterization and occassionally excruciatingly slow. Still, I think it's a film definitely worth a look at some point down the line, and most importantly of all features solid performances all around in particular from Parker himself, Aja Naomi King, and Armie Hammer.
★★★★ review by Dawson Joyce on Letterboxd
Say what you will about Nate Parker as a person, but most if not all of us can agree that the man's a terrific artist, and his raw and powerful writing and directing debut The Birth of a Nation is proof of that, with terrific performances, excellent cinematography, and a strong script.
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