I’ve been sitting on whether or not to do a review for two days now and skewed racist fucktard that I am, let me first start off by admitting that I didn’t wanna like Birth of a Nation.
Just like my feelings that Django Unchained – still the class of the decade as far as films in my opinion – would have been better if the director’s original choice to play Django, Will Smith, would have consented; because who could ever really believe serial white girl-chaser Jamie Foxx could be that devoted to a Black woman?; knowing that Birth director and star Nate Parker was married to a non-Black, nearly white woman made me feel sure that I knew why he was doing a movie such as this, but also (mistakenly) certain about the quality of the film.
See, like I’ve written before, nobody hates white men like Black men that are married to white women.
And like I’ve also said, you can tell this by how fiercely opposed they are to the idea of their biracial daughters having any kind of dealings with white men.
So yeah, a slave epic based on the real life hero that got to kill anywhere between 60 and 500 whites – depending on who you believe – was right up a guy like Parker’s alley.
Or, to some extent, I thought.
See, I expected him to make a mess of the story and, to a lot less of the extent than I expected, he did.
For whatever reason – probably an attempt to make Mr. Turner at least partially sympathetic to white audiences – Turner’s band is never shown murdering any women or children when even a cursory enthusiast of Nat Turner’s history knows that his group was in fact so thorough that after the supposed slaughter of one whole family, one of the members admitted that he’d left a baby alive it its crib which in turn caused the whole company to turn around and go back just to off the infant.
Now, whether or not white audiences wanted to see that particular level of determination, I damn sure did.
Also, although Parker does a decent job or depicting the fact that Turner indeed hid inside the ground for two whole weeks while seemingly the entire nation was looking for him, I regret that he didn’t do a take on what the reaction of whites was to the mere mention of Turner’s name for the entire period that he was on the lamb.
Allegedly, it was enough for one to whisper “Nat Turner” to make scores of whites, mostly women, submerge themselves in the nearest bodies of water, scale rooftops and bolt themselves indoors.
Where Parker succeeds – and he does so spectacularly – is in the portrayal.
One gets the feeling that Nat Turner is the role that Nate Parker was born to play.
Of all the slave narratives to date including Django, his featured the finest work by a lead.
And also, let me not dismiss Armie Hammer whose Massa Turner is so sympathetic at one point that it leaves you wondering what in fact he could ultimately end up doing that makes Nat want him dead.
And then you find out.
Prepare yourself for another great Oscar rip off.
And unlike the disappointing box office returns so far, they won’t be able to pin the upcoming Oscar sham on the resurfacing of old rape allegations against Mr. Parker.
No, in this instance, the crime will be that Nate Parker won’t win.
The felony would be, of course, if he weren’t even nominated.