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Selma (2014)

Selma

Director: Ava DuVernay
Starring: David Oyelowo – Dr.King
Tim Roth – Governor George Wallace

 

Is this the Martin Luther King bio-pic we’ve been waiting for?

Selma chronicles the 3 month period in 1965 when Martin Luther King lead a campaign to secure equal voting rights. This was via a march 54 miles from the town Selma to city Montgomery.

Let’s start with the good; Selma is a powerful film that empathetically helps to understand what people went through in this era to gain equal rights.

The camera work is particularly strong in creating immersion; you truly feel as if you are a member of the community alongside everyone during this opposition.
The Dr. King speech scenes particularly stand out; delivered incredibly well by Oyelowo, they are powerful and moving.
Furthermore, the speeches were rewritten due to the King foundation holding rights to use the original speeches. Despite this the writing didn’t feel out of place.

The acting overall is very solid, Tim Roth delivers a great role as Governor George Wallace who serves as a key member of the opposition to King.
Carmen Ejogo also delivers an excellent performance as Coretta Scott King; you certainly feel the strain that Dr. King’s work put on her as his wife and the fears she had to endure.

The film is balanced by showing Dr. King in a personal environment with his wife, children and fellow campaigners. These scenes show a more human side behind the public figure.

The few complaints I have are minor, for example, the first few scenes were a little disjointed and could have connected better for a more fluent narrative.

Also, the song choice during the credits really broke the film’s immersion. This wouldn’t affect everyone but the song didn’t fit the overall tone of Selma. The rest of soundtrack had brilliant music choices, fitting with the tone and time period of the film. However, this final track seemed to be pushing something from the modern age and felt unfitting.

Selma is great on almost all levels, there are only a few things holding this film back from being timeless.