Criticism restriction on Antoine Fuqua’s fugitive slave play emancipation was taken down on Wednesday evening and initial reviewer reaction to the Apple Original Films feature has been mixed.
Critics praised emancipationThe film’s controversial star, Will Smith, along with co-stars Ben Foster and Charmaine Bingwa received accolades. There was also praise for the film’s survival thriller, with appreciation expressed for its fresh approach to the subject. But some critics took issue with the film’s look and questioned Robert Richardson’s stylized cinematography and sparse screenplay.
The Hollywood ReporterLovia Garkye writes: emancipation Treats Peter’s escapades and journey well, but the film is “hampered by a spare and lackluster screenplay.” The current real-world reality of growing refusals in some US states to confront the horrors of slavery or attempts to rewrite history “saddles films like Antoine Fuqua’s wobbly drama … with a considerable burden of responsibility,” Garky thinks, but “it’s disappointing when they don’t amount to much more than Oscar bait.”
Justin Chang, Writing at Los Angeles TimesI thought that emancipation They failed to do justice to the true story of “Whipped Peter” and had particular problems with Robert Richardson’s muted cinematography, which they felt contradicted the survival thriller Fuqua was aiming for. “The more the film pulls away from Peter’s point of view, the more it diminishes its own tension,” Chang writes.
the watchmanPeter Bradshaw was more than enthusiastic in his praise emancipation. In a four-star review, Smith brings a movie-star presence and dignity to a historical figure like Peter, and Bradshaw writes that the film as a whole “works very effectively as a thriller,” though the third act isn’t quite as strong. “Perhaps the final confrontation with the hated Fassell is anticlimactic, having to come before Peter’s military enlistment in the third act, but this is a strong, fierce, heartfelt film,” writes Bradshaw.
“emancipation It is well-intentioned but full of pain.” In a review by Nick Schager The Daily Beast. Skager begins his review by asking if audiences are willing to forgive Smith, but says the actor’s “wooden” portrayal of Peter is “both iconic hero and victim.” “Peter is thus closer to an emblem than a fully realized human being, which prevents Smith from getting beneath the character’s traumatized and ferocious exterior,” Schaeger writes. A critic had problems with the direction, saying, “Fuqua’s characters are archaic and, therefore, suitable for a thrilling action-adventure, but not an outright exploitative affair. The director handles things too self-seriously and solemnly. No momentum or passion.”
emancipation Releases in select theaters on December 2, followed by a global streaming debut on Apple TV+ on December 9.