The Amazing Grace [DVD]
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Based on the true story of the world's best loved hymn and the
slaves that inspired it. At the height of the slave trading era, slave
trader John Newton sails to the coast of Nigeria, Africa. The peaceful and
joyful life in the African village is rudely interrupted by vicious slave
traders. Slaves are rounded up by force and trickery. As John Newton leaves
Africa with a ship load of slaves, a violent storm brings him to the point
of death and causes him to re-evaluate his life. Although he is saved by
two slaves, Newton attributes his miraculous escape to the amazing grace of
God. It takes an act of humanity from one of the slaves he considers
animals to show him the true meaning of love. He finally renounces slave
trading and decides to devote his life to religion.
Top customer reviews
This film is set during Newton's voyage to the Calabar coast, West Africa in 1748, which is covered in "Slaver Captain". Nigerian director, writer, producer Jeta Amata then uses a lot of artistic licence to explain how Newton's life was changed by the horrors that he witnessed. Events in the film are loosely based on Newton's adventures. In the film he is captured by irate local tribesman, but spared thanks to the pleading of a local girl he had fallen in love with. In fact he was a virtual slave to a native woman who was the wife of a local white overseer. The film then has Newton plagiarising a local native tune and using it for Amazing Grace. In fact he died long before the melody to 'New Britain' was used to accompany his lyrics in 1835 to give it the form we know today. Historical accuracy is not essential to a good film, as Hollywood has demonstrated many times, and to be fair this low budget film is not a bad effort considering.
The films main aim is to highlight the iniquities of the slave trade mainly through the eyes of the slaves, and this to be fair it achieves pretty well. Admittedly a lot of the acting seems amateurish but the films intentions are honorable and it wears it's heart on it's sleeve. Nick Moran is pretty good as Newton, and the rest of the cast give it their all. It is filmed in West Africa which helps. The film does not demonise the evil white man which is very much to it's credit, and is much more concerned with Newton's Damascus Road experience. Nigeria has a strong practicing Christian population and the film espouses these principles. There is no doubt it would have appealed to the domestic audience. Critics will scoff at some of the nonsense in the film, particularly the contrived and highly unlikely love interest involving Newton and a native woman. Guess he wouldn't have included that in his memoirs! All in all it is a perfectly watchable film that exceeded my expectations. The film had 11 nominations for the African Film Academy Awards. No guarantee of success outside of the Dark Continent! Fast and loose with the truth, but oddly entertaining.
At first, I thought it was a risk to have cast Mbong Odungide who was not only the youngest member of the cast, but was vitually a newcommer. She delivered a fine performance.
It's an african story of slavery. It's twist was in one of the task masters joining sides with the slaves and becoming an enemy to his own fellow white-men.
The cast is not extra-ordinary but OK.
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