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Amistad Movie Review

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The movie that I choose to review is Amistad. I think this movie would be very

appropriate with our course and subject. Set in 1839, a group of Africans take over a

Spanish slave ship: directed by Steven Spielberg. Two abolitionists, Lewis Tappan

(Stellan Skarsgard) and Theodore Joadson (Morgan Freeman) hire a real estate attorney

Roger Baldwin (Mathew McConaughey), who is convinced he has the key to set African

free. But pro-slavery President Martin Van Buren (Nigel Hawthorne) is on the other side.

The case goes to Supreme Court where President John Quincy Adams (Anthony

Hopkins), inspired by the moral stature of an African name Cinque (Djimon Hounsou),

defense freedom.

AMISTAD begins with the ship which allowed Cinque to free himself and then other slave

on board. Then they attack their Spanish captors, killing violently all but two sailors so

that they can sail back to Africa. But they end up in New York and American sailors

capture them and taken to Connecticut, where Cinque and other African are jailed. Lewis

Tappan and Theodore Joadson hire Roger Baldwin to defense African. Through the

course of trail Baldwin’s attitudes change toward Cinque and the Africans, and by the

picture’s end he has become abolitionist.

The trial is before Connecticut judge and jury with claims presented by

Spanish slavers, the American sailors, and the US government. Also there is Spanish

diplomat (Send by Spanish Queen) who intends to see the slaves returned to Cuba to be

executed for murder. Baldwin finds documents that seem to prove the ship originated in

Africa and not Cuba. So that they had been captured in Africa and were illegal

international slave trade and must return back to Africa. Pro-slavery Martin Van Buren

chooses a young judge name Coughlin. The abolitionists sense that the trail is against

them and they appeal to ex-President John Quincy Adams for help, but he turns them


Baldwin and Joadson find a British/Mende (African) sailor who speaks both

English and Mende language. Through this interpreter, Cinque is able to describe how he

was taken captive

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