FILM REVIEW: Dramatic account of King’s equal voting rights campaign

Selma ANL-151002-102422001
Selma ANL-151002-102422001

SELMA (12A)

SHOWCASE CINEMAS PETERBOROUGH, OUT NOW

CAST: DAVID OYELOWO, CARMEN EJOJO, TIM ROTH, TOM WILKINSON, GIOVANNI RIBISI, COMMON, WENDELL PIERCE, STEPHAN JAMES, ALESSANDRO NIVOLA & OPRAH WINFREY

RUNNING TIME: 2 HRS 8 MINS

DIRECTOR: AVA DUVERNAY

Why this was snubbed so badly at the Oscars – despite being one of the best-
reviewed films of the year so far – is a mystery.

Particularly British actor David Oyelowo’s gripping turn as the legendary Martin Luther King should have garnered more recognition, as he headlines this dramatic account of the tumultuous three-month period when Dr King instigated a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights and racial equality via an epic 1965 march in Alabama.

Despite one or two pacing and editing issues, this is a rousing political drama that will leave you gasping at the treatment of the black demographic – particularly in the white-ruled southern states – before King and his team’s ‘never say die’ but non-violent attitude stood up against the US administration.

After meetings with President Lyndon B Johnson failed to have the desired effect to speed up the process of giving black members of society their democratic right to go to the ballot box, a march from the Alabama town of Selma to highlight their disdain for government policy is the only way to go.

As a nation watches as it makes the TV news – which showcases brutal ‘hate crime’ beatings at the hands of police and local enforcers – disgusted members of white communities (including notable clergy figures) across the country soon join their black counterparts to force Johnson’s hand.

Epitomised by Oyelowo’s sensational central performance, Selma is a fine biopic that definitely deserves your attention – even if it has been scandalously overlooked at film awards.

By Gavin Miller: Rating: 4/5