Some biopics feel different than others and The Hurricane is a perfect example of that. Maybe because it touches upon so many different and yet strongly connected issues. Or maybe because it’s another Denzel movie, with another one of his trademark strong performances. The premise is simple and this movie is also simple. It never goes deeper, showing the complexities of these issues but remains firmly fixed on telling the story from the perspective of one man. Sometimes we don’t need those overarching narratives but something straightforward and easily understandable.
Based on a true story about Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, a successful black boxer who was charged and sentenced for murders he did not commit, this movie actually has two stars. One of them you already know, but the other one is the director Norman Jewison, who has been working on a number projects that raised awareness about important political and social issues. He even worked with Denzel while making A Soldier’s Story back in 1984. Active since the sixties, Norman knew how to bring this subject closer to the audience and make them feel empathy.
First of all, this isn’t a movie about boxing or anything like that, this is a biopic that focuses on one faithful night when everything went wrong for our main man Rubin. The saddest thing is that nothing has changed and if the same thing happened again today, I think that the probability of him ending up in jail is still pretty high. If he survives the arrest, of course. Racism is one of those issues that people like to talk about in certain terms and concepts and this movie follows that mantra. This is the reason why it was so successful and why people understood and loved it.
It is the year of our lord Satan 1966 and the war in Vietnam continues to escalate. In other news, USSR successfully landed a vehicle on the Moon and racism is still alive and well in the USA. At the same time Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, a successful boxer on a brink of making it. However, tonight all of that is going to change.
The Hurricane offers a compelling story and one hell of a performance by Denzel Washington. A performance that earned him an Oscar nomination. There’s not much tension or thrills here, this is simply not that type of a movie. With steady pacing, we will be following Carter’s life in this two and half hour epic. Although I haven’t been to prison, I have to say that that part of the movie feels really authentic. We won’t be focusing much on the whole boxing thing although the entire movie has that fighting spirit. Something that people of color had to rely on too many fucking times. And we can plainly see that in this movie. And you can imagine how many different and yet eerily similar stories are out there.
If this is something that interests you, I would like to bring your attention to the Innocence Project. They even have a list of movies about wrongful convictions. So, if you’re looking to check out some of them here’s the link: Must-See Films and TV Episodes on Wrongful Convictions. You can also check out their interviews, most notably on the Joe Rogan podcast. Finally, I will leave you with this quote:
Carter was the slave name that was given to my forefathers and passed on to me. Hurricane is the professional name that I acquired later on in life.
Rubin “The Hurricane” Carter
Director: Norman Jewison
Writers: Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter, Sam Chaiton, Terry Swinton
Cast: Denzel Washington, Vicellous Reon Shannon, Liev Schreiber, Rod Steiger, Dan Hedaya, Clancy Brown