Thursday, March 20, 2014

Amistad, Freedom Through The Cross
Lent for me is a time of reflection, a time to draw close to the creator of the universe.  Of course for quite a few years now movies have had an impact on me, often causing me to reflect, not just on the realities in my life but also on the sacrifices others have made to better the lives of others. I first posted my thoughts about this Amistad in 1997 and again in 2001, to this day, the images of sacrifice and the power of Christ to instill hope and purpose are still relevant for me. 

 The story follows the story of an African named Cinque, from the days of his freedom in Africa, his capture, the horrible form of transport across the ocean to America where he lives as a slave. The ship he and others are shipped on is named the Amistad. The horrors experienced on the Amistad and the way people are treated are unimaginable. This superbly directed classic by Steven Spielberg, brings the viewer to the realization that true freedom can be experienced by even those in chains. We see freedom is more than a condition of our living, it is a concept contained within the heart and mind.

Djimon Hounsou playing the part of Cinque is absolutely brilliant in this role, also terrific is Anthony Hopkins as John Quincy Adams. There is terrific cinematography and this film is among the few that I ever rated a 10 on a scale of 1 - 10, it still stands up, and after all of these years, is still just as powerful for me now as it was the first time I saw it in 1997.  The direction by Steven Spielberg is one of the reasons many see Spielberg as one of the great American Directors of all time.  There is an absolutely compelling and touching script and the surrounding actors from Hounsou, Hopkins, Morgan Freeman, Matthew McConaughey and many others are fabulous. During Lent I want and seek the reminders of the power of the Cross, the power of Jesus love. Amistad doesn't hint at those things, it slams the power of the cross and the gospel in ones face just as solidly and assuredly as the Roman Centurion driving the nails into Jesus hands and feet. There is clearly salvation, while not necessarily a circumstantial salvation, but certainly a spiritual salvation that offers freedom and more for those surrendering to the Son of God who gave his life for all of us on the cross. We are in fact reminded, it is often those who are having struggles that can identify with Christ because of the struggles and journey He went through. 

There are many in life having difficulty, yet, history is strewn with examples of those who have struggled, few likely more than the slaves in early American history, yet, despise those struggles, there is the example of Jesus which many relate to, accept and receive. It was his undying love in spite of the difficulty he faced for even those who would do him harm that others learned of true love.
For those who struggle, take the time this season to once again watch Amistad, if you haven't seen it, find a way to watch it, I promise, not only will you be inspired, but you will be reminded that even in tough times, the message of the cross is relevant for the hurting, even if that hurting person is you. This is a great movie, likely the best to never win an Oscar although it was nominated for 4 of them. Be moved and during the season of Lent, reflect on the sacrifice of Jesus for all people, including those who are abused, hurt, and rejected by society. In that love, Jesus shows his ability to love all people, and this movie is as good of a representation of that love as you may ever see. While many may see this review from me as a tad different, maybe even more like a sermon, watch the movie, you will see, everything touched on here, is touched on in the movie with the characters portrayed.  You will see, how a movie like Amistad is in reality, more than a movie, it is a sermon on the power of freedom as presented specifically, in the movie, by the sacrifices that Jesus made on the Via Dolorosa.

The following is the trailer for Amistad, to see it, just click on the video link, if the video doesn't appear or there are problems, click on the following link:

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