Selma UK, USA 2014 – 128min.
USA, 1964. Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Martin Luther King continues his non-violent battle for civil rights for black citizens. Lyndon B. Johnson initially refuses to discuss a law that would end discrimination against the black vote, even though segregation has already been struck down. And so King decides to organize a march to the city of Selma, Alabama, to raise awareness for the cause around the country and to force the government’s hand.
Selma has been the target of violent reactions in the last few months, from attacks against its veracity to an Oscar snub, even though the movie itself is technically not exceptional. Until now a documentary filmmaker, Ava DuVernay has made a perfectly good movie that is not more than that. It relies on harsh reality, on the fact that every instance of violence onscreen is a mere eco of the real horrors ripping America apart. DuVernay films this brutality with strength but also with pragmatism and melodrama. The result is a movie with honorable intentions that fails to make a real impact – despite a powerful cast, especially in supporting roles. Selma doesn’t manage to be more than a noble film adapted from real events. But because this is the first movie about Martin Luther King, it deserves to be counted.