The Hurricane

Review Date:
Director: Norman Jewison
Writer: Armyan Bernstein and Dan Gordon
Producers: A. Bernstein, N. Jewison, J. Ketcham
Denzel Washington as “Hurricane” Carter, Vicellous Reon Shannon as Lesra Martin, Deborah Kara Unger as Lisa Peters, Liev Schreiber as Sam Chaiton
Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, a champion boxer, is wrongly convicted of a murder and spends close to twenty years in prison. Appeal after appeal, march after march and outcry after outcry does not set this man free, until the day that a young black man picks up his book at a fair, and along with his three Canadian friends, attempt to free the man who has been unjustly placed behind bars for the better half of his life.
A powerful, moving and emotional drama ready to replenish you with spirit and determination in the face of adversity, while demonstrating once again, the superior acting talents of a man who goes by the name of Denzel Washington. In fact, his cohort in this film, Vicellous Reon Shannon, also swings the bat for a homer in his first major role, as the duo combine to draw some believable faces onto a story which is just too unbelievable to imagine. Don’t get me wrong, despite it being a true-to-life story, it is all too sad to have to admit that I had heard plenty of similar tales beforehand, but thankfully for us all, the magical touch of Denzel Washington just made this film invigorating and inspiring to behold. And yes, I hope to God the Academy tips their hat to this wonderful actor once again this time around. He plays him cocky, he plays him blissful, he plays him violent, he plays him soft-spoken, in fact, he plays the man through many of the colors that he explored throughout his lifetime. The story, a classic, is one of triumph over adversity, persistence over resignation, love over hate, and ultimately, one of justice over injustice, but truly it speaks of the power of the human spirit.

Would any one of us have been able to survive the terrible ordeal that this man had to endure for all those years? Everything taken away from him. His life, his job, his kids, his wife, his dignity, his everything! And what do you say about those four people who decided to dedicate their entire lives to getting this man out of prison? A man who they barely knew! Yes, even the “Hurricane” himself said that he would not have been able to do that for another. Actually, that was the one part of the story which I wished they had explored further. Those Canadians. What was their story? Who were they really? The film barely speaks of them in detailed terms and skates around the issue of their actual professions, and even their ultimate intentions to do the things that they did. Don’t get me wrong, they are admirable without a doubt, but I would have liked to have known more about them (The Little Known Facts below might shed a little light on that, JoBlo :). The film was also a little slow at parts, but I think the pacing was done purposely in order for us to better appreciate the snail-like grind of this man’s solitary experience. All in all, the secondary actors all could have been snapped up a notch or two, but none of that really mattered much with the knockout performance from Denzel as Rubin.

Rarely does a film transcend the level of a good film and become one with greater connotations simply because of its lead performance, but THE HURRICANE is just that. Now give that man an Oscar, dammit!

(c) 2021 Berge Garabedian

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