FILM REVIEW: SELMA (12A)

Why this was snubbed so badly at the Oscars – despite being one of the best-reviewed films of the year so far – is a bewildering mystery.

Particularly British actor David Oyelowo’s (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) gripping turn as the legendary Martin Luther King should’ve garnered more recognition, as he headlines this dramatic account of the tumultuous three-month period when Dr King instigated a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights and racial equality via an epic 1965 march in Alabama.


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Despite one or two pacing and editing issues, this is a rousing political drama that will leave you gasping at the treatment of the black demographic – particularly in the white-ruled southern states – before King and his team with a ‘never say die’ but non-violent attitude stood up against the US administration.

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After meetings with President Lyndon B Johnson failed to have the desired effect to speed up the process of giving black members of society their democratic right to go to the ballot box, a march from the Alabama town of Selma to highlight their disdain for government policy is the only way to go.

As a nation watches as it makes the TV news – which showcases brutal ‘hate crime’ beatings at the hands of police and local enforcers – disgusted members of white communities (including notable clergy figures) across the country soon join their black counterparts to force Johnson’s hand.

Epitomised by Oyelowo’s sensational central performance, Selma is a fine biopic that definitely deserves your attention – even if it has been scandalously overlooked at major film awards.

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Gavin Miller

Cast: David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejojo, Tim Roth, Tom Wilkinson, Giovanni Ribisi, Common, Wendell Pierce, Stephan James, Alessandro Nivola & Oprah Winfrey

Running Time: 2 Hrs 8 Mins

Director: Ava Duvernay [youtube id=”c9ouTjTndMA” width=”600″ height=”350″]

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