Last night was our kickoff to this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. After a hurried bite at Hawthorne we got ourselves in line for Birth Of A Nation (imdb | rotten tomatoes | tiff) at the Winter Garden theatre.
It won all the buzz at Sundance (and has gathered a fair amount of bad attention since, aimed at its director) and got a big ovation last night, but I admit I didn’t love it. It was deeply important subject matter, obviously incredibly relevant to American social issues of the day, and an interesting story. But there were some technical flaws, and the story dragged where it should have sped and sped where it should have lingered.
Certainly not a bad film, but I expect some of the strong reviews it’s getting have less to do with it being a great, skillfully-made movie than with the important message it carries. That may be enough to win it best picture at Oscar time; if that means thousands or millions more eyes and minds learn the story of Nat Turner, then the Academy may still have gotten it right, flawed or not.