EMPEROR Movie Poster | ©2020 Universal Pictures

EMPEROR Movie Poster | ©2020 Universal Pictures

Rating: PG-13
Stars: Dayo Okeniyi, Ben Robson, James Cromwell, Bruce Dern, Kat Graham, Naturi Naughton, M.C. Gainey, Mykelti Williamson, Keean Johnson, Patrick Roper, Harry Lennix
Writers: Mark Amin & Pat Charles, story by Mark Amin
Director: Mark Amin
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Release Date: August 18, 2020

EMPEROR is based on the life of real-life pre-Civil War figure Shields Green, played here by Dayo Okeniyi. Green was one of the men who fought beside abolitionist John Brown (James Cromwell) in the 1859 raid on Harpers Ferry in Virginia. While the raid itself did not get the desired result – enslaved Black Americans did not rise up en masse in rebellion – it helped set the stage for the election of President Abraham Lincoln and the U.S. Civil War.

EMPEROR starts with the beginning of the raid, then flashes back to when Green is still in slavery on a Charleston plantation. When he’s a little boy, Green’s mother tells him that he is descended from African royalty, hence the nickname “Emperor,” which sticks.

When Green has a wife (Naturi Naughton) and young son Tommy (Trayce Malachi) of his own, things change for the worse. New plantation owner Randolph Stevens (M.C. Gainey) puts his horrendous overseer Hank (Patrick Roper) in charge. Green tolerates beaten burned for Hank’s mistakes, but when Hank beats Tommy for reading, it’s more than Green can bear.

Shortly thereafter, several men are dead and Green is on the run through the South with a bounty on his head. Amoral but skilled tracker Luke McCabe (Ben Robson) is determined to collect the unusually large reward money.

There is a point where EMPEROR definitely parts company with the historical record. It’s easy enough to look up online what actually happened to Shields Green. Director Mark Amin, who crafted the film’s story and wrote the screenplay with Pat Charles, has something else in mind.

What we get is an adventure story with some significant observations about slavery that are germane to what’s happening, if sometimes a bit speech. The feel is like a Western, if Westerns took place largely in green forests instead of prairies and valleys.

Amin and Company do get to the conflict within the abolitionist movement over tactics and the potential risks and rewards over the attack on Harpers Ferry. With Cromwell giving one of the more dignified and sane portrayals of John Brown committed to film, and Harry Lennix as a sage Frederick Douglass, we can’t help but be drawn in, and we understand how Green can’t help it, either.

However, the road to Harpers Ferry is very episodic. Green is an active, charismatic figure as played by Okeniyi, and we’re firmly on his side. His varied encounters with people, Black and white, treacherous and helpful, are never dull. On the other hand, they could happen in any order or be replaced with other incidents entirely, and the outcome would still be the same once Green is pointed toward the raiders.

EMPEROR is diverting, and it illustrates why slavery was an abominable, intolerable institution. It just feels like there’s unresolved tension between the weight of its message and the conventional action film that it is at heart.

The home video release has descriptive service for the visually impaired, as well as captioning for the hearing impaired.

Related: Movie Review: BILL & TED FACE THE MUSIC
Related: Movie Review: THE PERSONAL HISTORY OF DAVID COPPERFIELD
Related: Movie Review: ENTWINED
Related: Movie Review: TESLA
Related: Movie Review: RANDOM ACTS OF VIOLENCE
Related: Movie Review: CUT THROAT CITY
Related: Movie Review: WATCH LIST
Related: Movie Review: MURDER IN THE WOODS
Related: 
Movie Review: THE BAY OF SILENCE
Related: Movie Review: THE SECRET GARDEN
Related: Movie Review: THE RENTAL
Related: Movie Review: LIMBO
Related: Movie Review: THE HOST
Related: Movie Review: THE FIGHT
Related: Movie Review: THE OLD GUARD
Related: Movie Review: AMULET
Related: Movie Review: A DEADLY LEGEND
Related: Movie Review: GHOSTS OF WAR
Related: Movie Review: RELIC
Related: Movie Review: THE BEACH HOUSE
Related: Movie Review: BELZEBUTH
Related: Movie Review: JOHN LEWIS: GOOD TROUBLE
Related: Movie Review: FOUR KIDS AND IT
Related: Movie Review: FOLLOWED
Related: Movie Review: YOU SHOULD HAVE LEFT
Related: Movie Review: MISS JUNETEENTH
Related: Movie Review: DRIVEN
Related: Movie Review: THE SURROGATE
Related: Movie Review: THE COLLINI CASE
Related: Movie Review: DREAMLAND
Related: Movie Review: SHIRLEY
Related: Movie Review: JUDY &  PUNCH
Related: Movie Review: END OF SENTENCE
Related: Movie Review: EQUAL STANDARD
Related: Movie Review: EVIL LITTLE THINGS
Related: Movie Review: VALLEY GIRL (2020)
Related: Movie Review: TROLLS WORLD TOUR
Related: Movie Review: SEA FEVER
Related: Movie Review: WE SUMMON THE DARKNESS
Related: Movie Review: VIVARIUM
Related: Movie Review: BLOODSHOT
Related: Movie Review: THE POSTCARD KILLINGS
Related: Movie Review: THE BANKER
Related: Movie Review: ONWARD
Related: Movie Review: RUN THIS TOWN
Related: Movie Review: ESCAPE FROM PRETORIA
Related: Movie Review: THE INVISIBLE MAN (2020)
Related: Movie Review: FANTASY ISLAND
Related: Movie Review: COME TO DADDY
Related: Movie Review: THE LODGE
Related: Movie Review: THE GENTLEMEN
Related: Movie Review: THREE CHRISTS
Related: Movie Review: CLEMENCY
Related: Movie Review: LITTLE WOMEN
Related: Movie Review: 1917
Related: Movie Review: JUST MERCY
Related: Movie Review: BLACK CHRISTMAS (2019)
Related: Movie Review: RICHARD JEWELL
Related: Movie Review: DANIEL ISN’T REAL
Related: Movie Review: LITTLE JOE
Related: Movie Review: KNIVES OUT
Related: Movie Review: QUEEN & SLIM
Related: Movie Review: FROZEN II

Follow us on Twitter at ASSIGNMENT X
Like us on Facebook at ASSIGNMENT X

Article Source: Assignment X
Article: Movie Review: EMPEROR

 

Related Posts:

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Comment

CAPTCHA Image
*

Increase your website traffic with Attracta.com
bottom round