Well, I’ll admit to being a little disappointed with this one.
Amazing Grace is the tale of one William Wilberforce, an English gentleman opposed to the C18thslave trade. Being a
rational humanist evangelical Christian, Wilberforce works tirelessly to have slavery abolished within the British Empire. Now, you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to work out that, in the end, he wins.
What was disappointing about Amazing Grace is that the story emphasises narrative over dramatic tension. In fact, there’s almost a complete absence of any dramatic tension whatsoever. We’re talking about one of the most turbulent periods in British history, where revolution was on their very doorstep, and while Wilberforce suffers setback and ridicule, the events transpiring outside his life are muted.
I’m thinking that this was probably deliberate. There is a lot of emphasis on the personal sacrifices made by Wilberforce, and an equal amount on his redemption after a near total collapse brought about by the French revolution and consequent viewing of dissent as ‘sedition’ (the parallels to post-twin towers USA being obvious). But the energy of the film is put into telling the story as honestly and clearly as possible.
I suppose that isn’t entirely a bad thing. It’s probably the youth in me that wanted to see more duels and less debate in Parliament… but you don’t always get what you want.