Martin Luther King is the central character but not the central focus of this docudrama about the historic marches King led through Alabama in 1965, which helped bring about the passage of the Voting Rights Act. The film is less concerned with him than with the operational mechanics of the civil rights movement; critic Glenn Kenny has aptly compared this to Steven Soderbergh’s Che, with which it shares a process-oriented view of history. Shifting perspective between multiple characters, screenwriter Paul Webb invites us to consider the events in the context of media culture and federal politics as well as black historical experience; by contrast, director Ava DuVernay (Middle of Nowhere) avoids “big picture” thinking, staging many principal scenes as chamber drama. This is lucid in its political analysis and sobering in its depictions of racially motivated violence, though it sometimes comes off as stolid. With David Oyelowo (as King), Carmen Ejogo, Tim Roth, Common, and Tom Wilkinson.
Director: Ava DuVernay
Producer: Christian Colson, Oprah Winfrey, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Brad Pitt, Cameron McCracken, Nik Bower, Diarmuid McKeown, Ava DuVernay, Paul Garnes and Nan Morales
Cast: David Oyelowo, Tom Wilkinson, Carmen Ejogo, Giovanni Ribisi, Alessandro Nivola, Cuba Gooding Jr., Tim Roth, Oprah Winfrey, Common, Lorraine Toussaint, Andre Holland, Omar Dorsey, Dylan Baker, Tessa Thompson, Colman Domingo, Stephen Root, Jeremy Strong, Nigel Thatch and Martin Sheen