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The presentation is choppy, with lengthy sections devoted to the events occurring during short spans followed by jarring leaps ahead in time.
Character development is perfunctory, with most individuals in the film falling into the "good, noble" camp (abolitionists) or the "evil, rapacious" camp (those in favor of continuing the slave trade).
In this movie, however, everything must be (no pun intended) black and white.
It's disappointing that so much talent has been assembled with so little to do. He has received praise for Coal Miner's Daughter and Nell, but less favorable reviews for some of his other efforts (Thunderheart, Blink).It's disappointing that director Michael Apted and his screenwriter, Steven Knight, choose to frame things with such stark contrasts; shades of gray would have made this a more compelling and powerful experience. However, in an era when it was a largely accepted way of doing business, not everyone who owned slaves or supported the slave trade was vile and despicable.Likewise, there were certainly abolitionists who would fail a nobility litmus test.By highlighting key events during this 25 year period, Amazing Grace provides a window into the efforts of Parliamentary abolitionist William Wilberforce (Ioan Gruffudd), who was the driving force behind the United Kingdom's ban on slavery (which occurred in 1807).The main battleground is Parliament, where Wilberforce's small group of allies (including Nicholas Farrell and Michael Gambon) square off against the entrenched pro-slavery group (including Ciaran Hinds and Toby Jones).