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In 1839, the slave ship Amistad set sail from Cuba to America. During the long trip, Cinque (Djimon Hounsou) leads the slaves in an unprecedented uprising. Much of the story involves a court-room drama about the free man who led the revolt.
Halfway into Amistad comes the point where Steven Spielberg pulls the lever, and the stink and horror and bestialities of slavery spill around our ankles. We can't look away.
January 01, 2000
Aiming to instruct and entertain, and often struggling to reconcile these goals, Amistad lacks the subtlety of tone and simplicity of form that made Schindler's List one of Spielberg's very best; here, however, every idea and image are too explicit.
As Spielberg vehicles go, Amistad -- part mystery, action thriller, courtroom drama, even culture-clash comedy -- lands between the disturbing lyricism of Schindler's List and the storybook artificiality of The Color Purple.
January 01, 2000
In short, a wordy courtroom drama which seldom progresses beyond ciphers, stereotypes and salutary slogans.
Spielberg seems to be dividing his filmmaking output into two distinct halves: in the summer months cranking out no-brainer dinosaur flicks...in the winter season unveiling his serious artistic stuff to edify the adults and woo the Oscar crowd.