Once a month for the past three months Odeon has advertised a special screening where you as the audience get to see a film for £5, The catch is that you will have no idea what you are going to see until the film starts. It is a very interesting premise and so on December first I went with my family to see a film that Odeon had chosen for us. They provided clues on twitter but I couldn’t figure it out and I am glad that I took this chance as the film turned out to be the brilliant Whiplash. I have even done a review of it which you can check out here if you would like. It was so good that I even included it in my top ten list of my favourite films of 2014.
Last weekend I was at the cinema to see Taken 3 I saw a trailer for the next Odeon Screen Unsreen event. After seeing Whiplash at the last ones I had high expectations for the next film that was to be chosen by Odeon for us to see. The clues for this screening were a little bit easier to decipher and so I managed to work out that we were most likely going to be Selma. I however kept this discover from my family who went with me as I they wouldn’t want to know beforehand. One of the main things that led me to thinking that it would be Selma was the fact that the screening was on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. day and I think it was highly appropriate that this particular film was shown. I had heard a little bit about this film and I was also looking forward to seeing it a lot however without this screening I don’t think I would have seen it in the cinema.
Selma is a film chronicling Martin Luther King’s campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, ALabama in 1965. Martin Luther King is played by David Oyelowo who might be best known for his role as Steve Jacobs in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. David Oyelowo delivers a phenomenal performance throughout Selma from his acceptance of the nobel peace prize to his speech at the end of the march in Montgomery. It is such a powerful film and is a testament to the man himself. While I have some knowledge of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his life, I found it to be an interesting and engaging look at the man and this period of his life. Too many of these sorts of films focus on the whole lives of the people they are looking at but by restricting it to this specific period it gave the film a sense of purpose and it was able to focus more intently on what was going on. Having a film focused on one guy was good but what made it a great film was that it also took a look at the wider cultural situation that was going on around him.
Without spoiling it I just wanted to quickly discuss the scene with the young girls in the church, this is because it starts off so calm and peaceful but it doesn’t stay that way for very long. This scene offers the audience a glimpse into the type of thing that happened during that period of time and shows the underlying cultural reality. If you have seen the film you will know what scene I am talking about and I have got to say that it was so sudden that I literally jumped out of my seat in shock. Not since I first saw Alien, have I been scared that much and I thought it was an incredible piece of cinema for it to have such an effect on me. After I settled down I started to wonder why it happened and what was the point of showing it as it didn’t seem to fit into the narrative but as the story progressed it was clear why it had been used and what the purpose of showing it was. Jump scares have become so commonplace that I hardly ever jump at them anymore but this film managed to get me and I applaud it for that although I hope to never be scared it that way for a long time to come.
Carmen Ejego plays Coretta Scott King and she does an incredible job acting alongside David Oyelowo, those two have great chemistry together and their characters areboth believable and well defined. Carmen is a brilliant actress and although I haven’t see any of the other films that she has been in so far I will definitely be keeping an eye out for her in the future. While Coretta King doesn’t get as much screen time as her on screen husband, what we do see from her is an engaging and well thought out performance. In fact there was no shortage of amazing performances in this film and even Opera Winfrey got a small role although I didn’t recognise that it was her until sometime pointed it out to me after the film had ended. Tom Wilkinson does a great job or playing President Lyndon B. Johnson in some incredibly powerful scenes alongside Dr. Martin Luther King as well as opposite people such as J. Edgar Hoover played by Dylan Baker and Gov. George Wallace who was played by the incredibly talented Tim Roth.
This film comes out next month so when It does I would highly recommend that you go and see it.