Critic Reviews



Based on 23 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
Spielberg has mounted a courtroom drama to rival the finest Grisham, with a coruscating civil rights debate resonating both within the film and into the present as the audience knows it.
USA Today
Sheer power, moral and otherwise. It possesses a massively majestic hero. [10 Dec 1997, p.D1]
Thematically rich, impeccably crafted, and intellectually stimulating, the only area where this movie falls a little short is in its emotional impact.
Entertainment Weekly
Becomes a too-stately courtroom drama, with the Africans in the dock, the issue of slavery on trial at didactic length, and the top-billed Morgan Freeman as an abolitionist shunted to the sidelines with too little to do. [26 Jun 1998, p. 130]
Chicago Sun-Times
What is most valuable about Amistad is the way it provides faces and names for its African characters, whom the movies so often make into faceless victims.
Scenes go on and on in endless, witless dialogue, ever accompanied by John Williams' hideously gushing music.
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
Despite the Spielberg trademarks, a lavish attention to period detail and the occasional flash of visual potency, this is a picture you never get caught up in.
Consistently earnest and well-intentioned but only occasionally moving, despite the efforts of a generally top-notch cast.
Of the underutilized mega cast, Djmon Honsou shines the brightest. His portrayal of Cinque, the leader of the displaced band of African tribesmen, is devastatingly potent.
Spielberg uses a more conventional format than he did in the stripped-down black-and-white "Schindler's List,'' and delivers a film that veers between stoic political correctness and mushy pop-Hollywood platitudes.
Christian Science Monitor
Steven Spielberg's historical drama is more stilted and didactic than its fascinating subject deserves, gathering great emotional force only in a harrowing scene depicting the Holocaust-like suffering of slave-ship captives.

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