Sunday, June 29, 2014

Malcolm X (1992)

Director: Spike Lee

Writers: Alex Haley, Malcolm X, Arnold Perl, Spike Lee

Composer: Terence Blanchard

Starring:Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett, Albert Hall, Al Freeman Jr., Delroy Lindo, Spike Lee, Theresa Randle, Kate Vernon, Lonette McKee, Tommy Hollis, Debi Mazar, David Patrick Kelly, Michael Imperioli, Nicholas Turturro, William Fichtner, Christopher Plummer, Karen Allen, Peter Boyle, Al Sharpton, Bobby Seale, Ossie Davis

More info: IMDb

Plot: Biographical epic of the controversial and influential Black Nationalist leader, from his early life and career as a small-time gangster, to his ministry as a member of the Nation of Islam and his assassination.

My rating: 7.5/10

Will I watch it again? No.

I knew very little about the man going in and now that I've come out the other side of the near-three and a half hour movie...I feel like I have a much better understanding of who he was and what he as about.  That is, if everything in those 202 minutes is the truth.  That's the problem with a lot of these biopics in that you're usually seeing the subject through the eyes of someone who wants to paint a positive picture.  I'll give Lee the benefit of the doubt and buy what he's selling.  As a film, the story of Malcolm X is interesting and engaging but staying just shy of utterly compelling.  It's clear to see how the events in his life shaped him and his beliefs.  The part that I found most humbling was when he discovers the man he's been following and the man he'd easily have given his life for, Elijah Muhammad (Al Freeman Jr.), was flawed and blatantly lied to him.  It's at that point that Malcolm reinvents himself once again and for the greater good of mankind.  That sounds lofty but that's what I got out of it. It's admirable enough, though not necessarily an endorsement.  The performances are solid and the one thing that many have an issue with, the length, I don't.  There are scenes that go on far too long (like the jitterbug dance) that add nothing to the story but I like them.  I liked spending time in this world and at no point was I bored.  Shocking, I know.  Beware of the single disc DVD as it is devoid of any extras.

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