In Review!: “The Birth of A Nation”

Generic to a fault, Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation falls prey to common pitfalls of both biopics and debut features. The obvious passion for central figure Nat Turner (and his leading of a slave uprising 30 years before the Civil War) is often thrown asunder by bland characterizations and clunky visuals. The film has the fire to tell a story untold, but still lacks any ideas in how to tell it – Birth is almost always in conflict with itself.birth-review1.jpgParker plays Turner and wrote the film (with Jean Celestin), and Turner is presented with the glass half full from each of Parker’s three entry points. Turner is rendered bland on the page, distancingly deified on the screen, and inconsistently played (though with some powerful moments). While we are taken along the chapter marks leading to the rebellion, Turner remains unilluminated for the audience, somewhat of a cipher that we can’t even project our own emotions upon. In losing the man, the film loses a bit of its meaning. Continue reading “In Review!: “The Birth of A Nation””