Since winning some of the top prizes at the Sundance Film Festival back in January, The Birth of a Nation has already been generating Oscar buzz – considering Nate Parker (who directs, produces, writes and stars) has been working on this film for seven years now, that must be a relief. But despite all of that, from the trailer alone, this film is going to be one to watch.

Set in the early 1800s, Nat Turner (Parker) is a slave who, as a boy, was taught to read the Bible so that he could preach to his fellow slaves. But as he tours America with his master (Armie Hammer), an unshakable idea of rebellion begins to form.

It’s no accident that the movie shares its title with D. W. Griffith’s hugely controversial 1915 film; considering the contrast in their subject matters, this decision suggests the film is going to be a difficult watch. The trailer – while displaying several visually striking shots – also hints at the inevitable horror that these characters will face, suffice to say it won’t be for the faint hearted.

One of the things I find most fascinating about films based on true events is – if done well – they can manage to capture an audience’s attention right up until the credits roll, even if they’re already aware of how the story will unfold. Judging by the first trailer for Parker’s period drama, The Birth of a Nation might be one such film.

 The Birth of a Nation should be coming to UK cinemas on 20th January 2017.

Sarah Quraishi

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Image sourced from ‘The Birth of a Nation’ (2016), Fox Searchlight Pictures.

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