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Amazing Grace

Polite under fire
By JUSTINE ELIAS  |  February 21, 2007
2.5 2.5 Stars

Michael Apted’s stirring if conventional bio-pic of 18th-century British abolitionist William Wilberforce offers rum, funneled into anti-slavery PM William Pitt the Younger (Benedict Cumberbatch), and sugar, in the form of the hero’s adoring wife, Barbara (Romola Garai). This is polite England, so Middle Passage horrors remain veiled: slave turned memoirist Oloudaqh Equiano a/k/a “Gustavus” (Youssou N’Dour) is silenced until the end credits. As Wilberforce, Ioan Griffudd (The Fantastic Four) conveys the charisma of a righteous hero. Just how he outmaneuvers his enemies becomes a cynical surprise, especially in a bio-pic financed by fundamentalist tycoon Philip Anschutz of Walden Media. Don’t go seeking answers here as to where God is when humanity countenances atrocity; that’s for another film to deal with. Better ones, like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. For now, there’s Wilberforce exacting moral justice without going berserk.
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  Topics: Reviews , Entertainment, Movies, Biopics,  More more >
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