The Birth of a Nation (2016) Review

Posted by The Zodiac | Movie Reviews | Saturday 22 October 2016 2:39 am
The Birth of a Nation

The Birth of a Nation (2016)

4 Stars (4 / 5)

I’ve wanted a movie done about Nat Turner for decades after I had learned about him at a young age. The fact that someone would have had the guts to rise up against not only the White power structure, but the people who placed it in action and enforced it, is worthy of a more than a film. I’d like a statue risen in his honor for the patriot he was: killing the enemy for freedom under God. I mean, that’s what the United States is all about, right?

Despite all of the controversy regarding the star/writer/director, Nate Parker, I went into this movie with my eyes wide open to see how he would do with the story of Nat Turner and the rebellion. What I loved about the movie was it’s simplicity in storytelling. There was no over-dramatization regarding slavery; which is a very seriously under-written or spoken about chapter in this country’s history despite what some may say. Don’t believe me? Ask those tired of Black people bringing it up to tell them who Dred Scott or Sojourner Truth were. Ask them when slavery began and which year the first boat came to the East Coast with African slaves.

Well, one of the descendants of those boat rides was Nat Turner who had taken his name, as many slaves did, from the White slave owners. This movie was different in it showing the White and Black kids playing despite the obvious social differences laid out for their lives. Nate Parker as an adult Nat took on as a preacher loaned by his owner to preach to other plantations. In the movie, he witnessed the brutality the other slaves had endured and used his Biblical verses in different ways: some as a God of love and others as a God of wrath. This duality showed Nat which way God was pushing him and as a slave knew it was wrong.

Using the Bible as a weapon, Nat was punished for his words and beaten. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back; even after the disappearance of his father and after the rape of his friend’s wife, as well as the rape and beating of his wife, Cherry. See, whether those like to believe it or not, the evil that was created in that word and that the Blacks had to endure for hundreds of years…entire lifetimes for most made it a miracle any were able to find hope. Nat helped them do that in the Bible.

Well, once the Bible showed him the way he was supposed to go, he began his plot for a rebellion. The cinematography wasn’t fantastic but there were some highlights. The coloring was awesome and the music fit the narrative. The costuming was pristine and you were able to see the pain in Nat’s eyes as he was forced to stay silent during the brutality…as were all slaves unless you wanted to be whipped or killed.

The rebellion made me proud as people should stand up to evil and if you have to kill it to be free, then so be it. Nat Turner and the rebellion were heroes and unfortunately, it left a lot of innocent Blacks dead in it’s wake as a form of intimidation, he showed what happened when you teach the true meaning of the Bible to those who take it word-for-word. Peace to Nat Turner and thanks to Nate Parker for creating this film. I hope people get a chance to view it and then read the story of Nat Turner and other insurrections that occurred in this country.

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