Emancipation 2022 is an American history and action film directed by Antoine Fuqua and written by William N. Collage. The movie is based on the true story of Peter and Gordon who were sold as slaves during the early 1860s.
Emancipation film stars Will Smith, Ben Foster, and Charmaine Bingwa. The film’s producer, Joey McFarland, began researching the story of Gordon in 2018 and hired William Collage to write the script.
The film was officially announced in June 2020 and began filming in Louisiana in July and August 2021. The rights to the film were acquired by Apple for $130 million, outbidding several other studios. The film is 2 hours long and is in both Haitian and English languages.
Emancipation tells the story of a slave named Peter, played by Will Smith, who successfully escapes from slavery and journeys through Louisiana to reach freedom. He uses his intelligence, belief in himself, and love for his family to avoid being captured by those hunting him.
The film is based on real-life events, specifically the 1863 photographs of a man named “Whipped Peter” that were published in Harper’s Weekly. One photograph, called “The Scourged Back,” shows Peter’s back covered in wounds from a whipping he received from his slave masters. This image helped to increase public opposition to slavery.
EMANCIPATION OFFICIAL TRAILER
EMANCIPATION FILM REVIEW
Despite receiving negative reviews from movie critics, I personally found Emancipation to be a standout film. Initially, the negative reviews discouraged me from watching it, but after a week, I changed my mind and decided to give it a chance. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the movie was not bad at all.
In terms of characters and acting, the film featured a large cast but not all of them had ample screen time to showcase their talents. However, the protagonist, Will Smith, who played the role of Peter, a slave from Haiti, had a significant amount of screen time and delivered a strong performance. The chemistry and love between Peter and his wife Dodienne and his children were also impressively portrayed.
Will Smith had to change his accent for the role of Peter but there were inconsistencies in his performance.
Another notable character, Fassel, was played by Ben Foster and was a skilled bounty hunter. In this film, Ben derives pleasure in chasing the ‘runners’ and playing with them after they’ve been caught. Despite Fassel’s attempts to control Peter, the slave remained resilient.
Ben Foster’s performance was enjoyable as he effectively conveyed emotions through his facial expressions and body language. Ben’s character may not be enjoyable to all because of what he does to humans -Africans especially.
All actors with significant screen time gave strong performances.
Cinematography : The cinematography in the film is decent with good camera movement, positioning, lighting, and angles. The use of drones for some shots was impressive, but it felt like they were overused and became unappealing.
The decision to shoot the film in black and white was likely intended to convey a historical tone, but it was not effective and the lack of colour detracted from the film. I believe that a historical film can be made effectively without the use of black and white and the message can still be conveyed through other elements such as settings, makeup, accents and clothing.
Theme: Emancipation explore themes such as independence, autonomy, and the struggle for freedom and self-determination. Other themes that may be explored in this film include poverty, homelessness, abuse, and the challenges of making a new life on one’s own.
DID YOU KNOW?
This shoot for Emancipation is the most difficult thing the Director and even the crew has ever done. , According to abovetheline , Fuqua said “The heat was over 100 degrees, then the hurricane came and wiped us out so we had to change and find all new locations. We were down for like a month.”
He continues by saying “Remember, it was the height of COVID. We had to have people get tested every day before they can even get out of the car. That means I only had a certain amount of time a day to get what I needed to tell my story.”
Despite some flaws, the film is enjoyable and carries a powerful message. The film’s message was so powerful that it completely absorbed my attention, causing me to forget to take notes for my review. It is recommended for viewers aged 16 and above due to its depiction of violence and use of explicit language.
You can watch Emancipation on Apple+.
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