DVD Review: Selma
Selma is a slow burn that builds up into an emotionally charged epic.
It’s 1965 and Martin Luther King Jr has chosen the small town of Selma, Alabama, to be the centerpiece of his non-violent resistance in an attempt to pressure President Lyndon B Johnson into passing law to allow black people to vote.
This is pretty much the focus of the entire film. It’s no biopic of King’s life, no rising through the ranks, just one of the most significant moments in his short life’s work.
One of the really great things about Selma is that it doesn’t paint King as a perfect, can do no wrong, kind of character. Rather it paints him as human, dedicated and cunning. He picked Selma as the base of his peaceful protest because he knew that his protest would be met with violence, and he needed the violence for his non-violent cause to get noticed.
And get noticed he did.
Selma is an amazing film on many levels. It has some great acting from David Oyelowo as King, Tom Wilkinson as President Lyndon B Johnson and Tom Roth as Alabama governor George Wallace. In fact, Roth’s role as the bigoted Wallace was frighteningly believable, and his face off with the President was one of the best scenes in the film. With many powerhouse performances, it was easy to get dragged into the story of Selma. And what a story, where the violent outpouring against blacks by white people is meet by peaceful protest by both black and whites and King’s little ploy begins a growing unity, and a strong message for even us today. It takes real courage to stand up for people who are different from you, for a cause that brings no benefit to you, but in doing you do become a powerful tool for change.
Whilst Selma is a film rather than a documentary, and therefore we can expect some artistic liberties to have taken place, it has a real feeling of power and conjures up both emotions and a palatable desire for action. And that is a rare gem that is often missing from our celluloid addiction.
Rating: M Violence and offensive language.