Quick Review: Selma (2015)


Director Ava DuVernay and lead David Oyelowo announce themselves as major talents in this gripping and powerful civil rights drama.

Negotiate. Demonstrate. Resist. This is the non-violent mantra of Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) and the civil rights organisation he led, the SCLC, throughout their struggle to gain equal rights for African-Americans. Selma mostly takes place in 1965, one year after a landmark victory against segregation earned King the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize. He has already uttered those immortal words ‘I have a dream’ but he is not done yet. This Oscar-nominated biopic charts his determined campaign to secure equal voting rights for African-Americans, by staging a 50 mile protest march starting in Selma, Alabama. Perhaps the highlight is Oyelowo’s mesmerising performance as King; the British actor nails the accent and gives off an air of self-assurance which supplies this powerful film with huge credibility. DuVernay’s  confident direction demonstrates her skill at gripping the audience, keeping the action tense right through to the film’s uplifting final act, while the beautiful cinematography gives further credence. However, despite suggesting that the battle for equality was well and truly won through King’s actions, recent shootings in America and the Oscars snub of both Oyelowo and DuVernay suggest that it is in fact far from over.

★★★★☆      IMDb: 7.7      Rotten Tomatoes: 98%

Selma is out now in UK cinemas. Watch the trailer here


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