HURRICANE THE by benbenzhou


									HURRICANE, THE (1999)

Based on a true story about Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter (Denzel Washington,
Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Drama), the film follows Hurricane’s
tragically unjust persecution and incarceration and his rise out of prison
through the help of a black boy and his white friends and mentors. The
screenplay is actually an adaptation of two books. One is an autobiography by
Hurricane chronicling his life and persecution. The other is a novel about
Hurricane’s relationship with Lesra (Lazarus) and his friends who work to
free Hurricane from a triple life sentence for murder. If this story weren’t
true, it would seem oddly forced for dramatic effect.

Although the adaptation leaves gaping questions about the events, as
adaptations often do, the movie elucidates, ever so poignantly, the power of
the heart. So many movies this holiday season have brought us back to our
heart, and although the universality of the message may seem repetitive,
every victory of the heart manifests its own magic and finds its unique

In Hurricane , the magic comes through the complexity of Hurricane’s
character. As if we were cast into the cell with him, we get a taste of the
terrifying struggle to hold on to sanity, dignity, and meaning. Hurricane
molded himself into an untouchable, resilient, self-contained fortress, but to
do that, he’s had to give up love and hope and because of that, he hasn’t
faced his life-long prejudice against whites. His racism is certainly
understandable. He had every reason to hate white people. After all, a white
cop sent him to jail at 11 when he was innocent. The same white cop had him
framed for murder. A jury of 12 white people found him guilty of murder. A
white judge sentenced him to life imprisonment. Hurricane has never known a
white person who hasn’t done him wrong. How could he not hate white
people? It is this hatred, however, that holds Hurricane in a spiritual prison,
just like the unjust conviction holds him in a physical prison.

Denzel Washington gives a wonderful portrayal of Hurricane’s journey back
to the heart. He takes us step by step from a man who hates whites to a man
who allows himself to love, trust, and depend on a group of virtual white
strangers. Hurricane fights to show the world the truth because the truth
will transcend the lies that have kept him in prison, but only when he opens
his heart and surrenders to love can he transcend the prison he’s created in
his soul to keep himself untouched by the flawed world.

One can hardly comprehend an injustice that was done to Hurricane Carter,
but through the bonds of love, he was delivered to freedom. This movie
shows us once again just how far our hearts can take us if we follow them.

Hurricane achieves its power and message despite obvious flaws and holes in
the story development. We may discuss these more in an afterglow because
chronicling them now will give some elements of the story away that are best
enjoyed in the theatre.

We usually leave the rating board alone. Their ratings are largely irrelevant
to our work and interest as reviewers. In this instance, however, we feel
that an R rating is perplexing. Hurricane was a middleweight boxing
contender, furious with his fists, but disciplined. There are exquisitely
choreographed, viscerally powerful fight scenes in the ring, but this is
hardly more than a real boxing match or wrestling simulation watched by 8
year olds regularly.

Hurricane is a powerfully uplifting film for young people and particularly
young men. It shows a violent man overcoming his propensities and a young
man rise out of adversity and learn to read and motivate himself to achieve
greater things. We should be encouraging teens to see this movie, not
restricting them.


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