Ava DuVernay’s Selma is a historical drama which is equally parts moving and absorbing.
In 1965, Dr Martin Luther King Jr. and his supporters attempt to help secure equal voting rights for citizens in Selma, Alabama. In the face of violent opposition, the civil rights activist plans a march from Selma to Montgomery…
Selma is a finely executed historical drama. Director Ava DuVernay guides the story with precision; concentrating on the events during a three-month period rather than more infamous aspects of King’s story and the civil rights movement. The film allows for pensive moments and sincere dialogue without a lapse in pacing. The conclusion is build towards with the requisite tension it requires.
The story that the film focuses on functions on a number of levels. There is a keen awareness, referenced in the film, that this is just one struggle of many within the movement. Moreover, the film gives viewers enough indication of Martin Luther King Jr. as an individual without the need for an encompassing biopic. Finally, Selma is powerful in its depiction of real struggles and tragedies.
Selma features a story that took place at a pivotal period in the civil rights movement. The film has additional weight given that some aspects portrayed are sadly mirrored in recent events that have taken place in the US. There are several moments in Selma that feel poignant, and DuVernay executes these effectively.
Bradford Young’s cinematography is decent throughout. The use of lighting is particularly strong. Costumes and stylings are also good, as is the film’s score.
David Oyelowo gives a convincing performance in Selma. Playing a much recorded character, the actor had a lot to live up to. Nevertheless, Oyelowo carries it off incredibly well; the lack of an Oscar nomination for this role is surprising. Tom Wilkinson and Carmen Ejogo offer good support.
Selma tells an important story, and has been released at a pertinent time. Highly recommended viewing.