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The Hurricane [RSC Film Club 18]


LimeGreenLegend

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LimeGreenLegend

This month the film club is all about biopics, as submitted by @Fido_le_muet.  Although this is the first time that it has been an official genre, we have had a few biopics in the past such as Max Manus, The French Connection and Rush.  This month we return to the world of sports with the 1999 biopic of boxer Rubin Carter, The Hurricane, nominated by @omarcomin71.

HURRICANE MOVIE POSTER Original DS 27x40 DENZEL WASHINGTON Boxing ...

The film, directed by Norman Jewison (In The Heat of the Night, Fiddler on the Roof, Moonstruck) tells the story of middleweight boxer, Rubin "The Hurricane" Carter (Denzel Washington) who was wrongfully arrested and convicted of murder in 1966, and sentenced to life in prison.  He was released in 1985 thanks to the efforts of Brooklyn teenager Lesra Martin (Vicellous Reon Shannon).  This is another film club selection that I've not seen yet, but this has an excellent director and lead actor telling an incredible true story, so I'm looking forward to checking it out.

here comes the story of the hurricane...

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Con

When I met my wife she was the first person to have me watch The Hurricane. Pretty sure it was the first time she saw me cry, must have been all that saw dust in the air that got in my eye. lol. I don't remember every detail of the movie so I look forward to seeing it. I'll let you know in the review if i peeled onions while watching it for the second time.

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omarcomin71

This is available to rent on Amazon prime. Also available on Cinemax if you have a subscription. 

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omarcomin71

I watched this last night.  I’ll wait to submit my review till the end of the month. However I will say,  @Con I managed to get something in my eye as well. 😉

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Con
8 hours ago, omarcomin71 said:

However I will say,  @Con I managed to get something in my eye as well. 😉

Cooking with those darn Habaneros while watching movies again, LMAO. Told you not to touch your face.

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  • 3 weeks later...
djw180

A fine, very moving film. Quite relevant at this time as well. Denzel Washington is a great actor and this is great example of his talent, well worthy of his Golden Globe win, with good support as well. I really didn't realise how long this was, nearly 2 ½ hours, until watching the extra features on DVD with the director talking us through the scenes he had to leave out to keep the running acceptable. Whilst I agree with that from a film-making point of view I'd have happily had this longer. I guess this is true of any biopic, if they are good I always want to know more. In particular I'd like to have known more about the background of the Canadian trio who did so much to get Rubin Carter freed, once their young friend from New York kicked them into action. And I'd also like to know what happened to the corrupt, racist policeman who put him in jail in the first place (I'm guessing not much). But of course it wasn't their story, it was Rubin Carter's. One scene I did think could have added a lot, but again I understand why it was left out, showed Liev Schreiber's character finding the taxi driver who arrived at the nightclub Carter was at before he left, and confirmed that he had overheard the police radio discussing the murders before he arrived at the Club, so Carter clearly could not have committed them, they happened before he left the club. But even decades later the taxi driver was too scared of the local police to make an official statement on that.

 

This is one I'm sure I'll watch again one day. 8/10.

 

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omarcomin71

The Hurricane 

I don’t often get excited about Bio Pics. It’s hard for me to get motivated to watch a film when the eventual outcome is already known. Now there are times when I am unfamiliar with the story. However even if that was the case with The Hurricane the movie starts with the near ending of the story and finish’s with flashbacks through the reading of Rubin Carter’s book. I loved this format! 

I was riveted throughout this entire film. Rooting for an injustice to reversed.  

Denzel Washington is great as Rubin Carter as he fights with his inner demons and learns to trust white folks after never having a reason to. 

This movie is a bit poignant for the times as both white and black stereotypes are broken.  I found myself tearing up towards the end of this movie with great emotional performances by everyone. 

Two big thumbs up! 

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  • 2 months later...

The Hurricane (1999) 

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The Awesome: The unbelievable friendship that freed this man is just unreal. I mean, can you imagine being rescued by strangers from a different country with nothing to gain for themselves (at least initially). Denzel Washington does a super phenomenal job breathing empathy and compassion into a man that wasn't always a model citizen. Denzel's acting is top notch here and just his powerhouse performance alone is worth the 2+ hours of running time. There are moments in which he controls that convincing under the surface anger and broken spirit that could get triggered at any moment and what Denzel does in those moments was just quality. I felt the way prison life was portrayed was accurate through it's gut-wrenching moments of an innocent man with no hope in sight. The opening scene was fantastic as we are introduced to Rubin Carter (Denzel Washington) and the importance of whatever he is writing and he was lucky Lt. Jimmy Williams (Clancy Brown) lets him hide the manuscript and Rubin didn't even have to do his taxes (some Shawshank Redemption humor for all you Andy Dufresnes out there).

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The Good: No matter what parts of the film were fabricated for entertainment or not, one thing stuck with me and it's that the film has a great message for all humans and that is to never let your past experiences with people of other ethnicities affect your future encounters and that is seen in how Rubin Carter feels about whites in his environment and how some whites view blacks when they enter their environment. In this real life story, had either groups remained stubborn, the story would not have the redeeming quality in the racial tension element  and yet, I still found this to be a flaw as well which I will talk about in the "Ugly"  below. I thought the cinematography was well done, the prison settings were convincing and the solitary confinement parts were some of my favorites as those scenes had everything good we look for in film. I think people don't realize how strong one has to be to be convicted for a murder you know 100% you did not commit or have anything to do with its planning or execution, serve your time while having your appeals rejected. I felt those moments were very good as they show the horror and mental anguish of a person that is innocent (of that particular crime) and they know they are innocent and no one is listening. That is horror, that is like being trapped in a nightmare. I think I enjoyed this film the first time on an emotional level but this time, I came equipped with truth and truth will always change my heart. So this time I enjoyed the film as a psychological and survival horror story and not the romantic innocent saintly man who prison life has hardened. While I do have an issue with how Rubin's crimes are handled in the film, I did appreciate the court scene where Rubin is freed because the judge brings up the very important point that two previous juries had found him guilty of the murders. 

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The Bad: There was something about the pacing toward the end that just seemed rushed and unpolished but since we are at such a climatic moment that it was easy to miss during the first viewing but noticed it in the re-watch. It was a bit jarring cause they took so long during the first two acts then only to rush the most important scenes like the conviction being overturned. And this is where I feel the film really failed in telling a fully compelling story, if you know some of the actual facts, the story could have used them instead of fabrications. I understand that the third act did not need to be long as the film isn't a court drama but with a running time of 2 hours and 26 minutes, it sure felt like the end just comes out of nowhere. I thought they rushed the best part of the movie...the moment of our catharsis where the suspense could have been stretched a little longer because they sure found that piece of evidence that freed Rubin so unconvincingly 

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The Ugly: The creative liberties were brutal and not needed! The first time I watched it, I figured some things would be exaggerated or altered to make a particular moment more impactful by raising the stakes or increasing the protagonist's obstruction but when I digest the story, I find that it hurts the truth instead. You see, the film doesn't necessarily paint Rubin as a saint but by showing us a negative childhood experience we are forced to already sympathize with the person whether we want to or not because we are seeing a child and then leave out what could have actually enriched the character, showing us his loss of innocence when he was charged in 1957 with multiple muggings of elderly people. He was in a group that went on a mugging spree. Had they shown us that in the film, then it would have been up to us to decide if we wanted to feel sympathy for him later as we see him try to change into a better man. I think the film could have been more powerful had we seen some self flaws instead of the flaws which seem adopted by Rubin through his negative experiences.  Most of us did stupid things as kids, so I would have not held it against Rubin in the sense that I would have not lost my compassion for him.  The only change of opinion I would've had would have been just interpreting his incarceration  as more of a karmic passage (a purgatory) more than a wrongful punishment. 

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Final Verdict...3/5.... Hate to say it but the film was knocked down a few notches from the first time i watched and loved it. I still think what Rubin Carter went through was terrible but I felt the film only paints one side of him and I would have been fine with that but then the filmmaker decides to throw in nonsense like the fight with Joey Giardello. In the film Rubin wins the fight convincingly, barely gets a scratch....but loses by decision because the judges were racists. But if you look up the fight you would be surprised to learn that the opposite was true that night and there were plenty of witnesses and none of what was shown in that scene was true. Joey Giardello won that fight easily and actually sued the filmmakers for the way he was portrayed in the film. I believe there was a cash settlement. Why not just make up a fighter if you were going to twist the truth anyways. The filmmaker actually thought he had to make up an example of racism that never happened when im sure there were plenty of other real examples he could have used throughout Rubin's life and twisted to his liking. This is still worth a watch thanks to the amazing performance by Denzel Washington and his moments in "the hole" were fascinating to watch. Don't get me wrong, the main plot is still riveting stuff but don't walk away thinking you know "The Hurricane" now that you watched the film. I feel for any man that is sentenced for a murder they did not commit and 19 years that Rubin Carter served were no picnic. I can imagine what that must have been like for the spirit, soul, and mind of someone jailed for something they did not do and it would take a lot not to end it all at some point. Rubin Carter is one fortunate and unfortunate man. The same system that was able to convict him of a crime he did not commit is the same system that allowed him to write a book that would eventually free him or should i research that too? Watch The Hurricane to see what it would be like for an innocent man to survive the internal and external hell that is incarceration.  Perhaps Rubin Carter did want things in the film removed and did not agree to some of the creative freedoms taken by the filmmaker and if i ever come across any evidence of that, I will come back and share it. 

Edited by Con
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