TIFF 2016 Review: The Birth of Nation‘ is a Striking Masterpiece
The Birth of a Nation is the directorial debut for Nate Parker and tells the biographical story of Nat Turner, a slave who led a rebellion in the South. Nat Turner is played by Parker and joining him is an incredible cast. Each role is so well acted and cast, that the film is beyond stunning. The performances will take your breath away. Nate Parker, in particular, has an astounding performance. The level of emotional depth and pain that he expresses in this film are so heart-wrenchingly amazing that you are left stunned each time he is on the screen. His dialogue is enchanting and pulls you so far into the story. Expertly delivered and orchestrated, the lines add so much depth and weight to the film. Nate demonstrates a genuine turmoil inside of Nat Turner where he is struggling with preaching the word of God and seeing what is really in front of him. The story is the heart-breaking reminder of the horrors of American history and the injustices that many people have suffered. It is a necessary story to have repeated over and over.
Parker has a great eye for film and cinematography. There are shots in this film that leave the audience awe-struck. He is well on his way to being a master of cinema and storytelling. I can’t wait to see what film he decides to tackle next. There are scenes in which the imagery is so powerful and moving with just the simplest shots. Scenes in a cotton field or just the landscape coupled with mesmerizing and captivating music are the perfect combination.
The Birth of a Nation has so much depth to it. There have been quite a few slave films in the past few years, but this one feels unique and stands out from the rest. The Birth of a Nation speaks to the core of what needs to be said. Parker shows there is a chance for evolution and change through determination and sacrifice. An all round stroke of genius, The Birth of a Nation is inspiring, visually stunning and packed with powerhouse performances; a true masterpiece.