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TIFF 2016 Review: “The Birth of a Nation” (2016) ★★


The idea of slavery and its practice was one of the most unjustifying and cruel thing which could have been ever done against humanity. I can also understand that the desperate situation demanded desperation actions, but nothing can get close to what had been shown in Nate Parker’s THE BIRTH OF A NATION. Its uninspired and unnecessary story that should have remained as part of the darkest part of the history, as an educated man won’t take a hammer or axe and kill everyone around to stop the slavery. Unfortunately, this film is all about wrong choices from which the nation was left with no chance to be born…

Nat Turner was raised by his mother and grandmother, when his father had to urgently abandon the family after killing a “white man”. Nat is a naturally born leader and believer. When he grows, he becomes a preacher, while he works in his master’s house, who treated him more or less, fairly. One day, Nat decides to stop slavery and begins to gather a group of people who are willing to join the force, so does he, but not in a way an honorable man should do…

The start of the film was promising, as it slowly begins finding its ground to develop the story. As you watch Nat, you start admiring him for his strength and determination. But by the time when you reach half way through of the story, the look of a noble man who one day may stop slavery quickly vanishes. The idea that comes to his mind to kill all “white masters” to free themselves was not one of the best ideas, and the ending of the film proves that.

The whole issue of THE BIRTH OF A NATION is the storyline. As the viewer, we always want to be inspired after we watch a film based on a true story. Over the course of the film, we all want to advance to be upgraded as a brand new person, which unfortunately never happens in Nate Parker’s film. Another question you may ask the whole reason of making this film, however, do not try to seek for the answer, as I am sure, even the next generation will fail to do that.

In conclusion, despite the good acting, THE BIRTH OF A NATION has nothing special to offer. It’s overviolent and promotes the killing in the worst way possible. Instead of capturing how badly black people were treated back then by privileged and wealthy white people, the director shows that black people were no better than white ones. Even though they had reasonable cause to fight, nobody has the right to do what was done by Nat’s character. And if Parker tried to monument that part of history, then I am afraid he completely failed at that.


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