6.9/10
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2 user 4 critic

Nat Turner: A Troublesome Property (2003)

The story and legacy of the enigmatic leader of the notorious 1831 homicidal slave revolt in Virginia, along with reviews of works about him, are explored; twentieth century civil rights discussed and cultural relativism mentioned.

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Virginia Militiaman reenactment
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The story and legacy of the enigmatic leader of the notorious 1831 homicidal slave revolt in Virginia, along with reviews of works about him, are explored; twentieth century civil rights discussed and cultural relativism mentioned.

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16 February 2003 (USA)  »

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Very good but it did seem to indicate there was more disagreement about the man and his methods.
17 January 2017 | by See all my reviews

I commend this documentary simply because the Nat Turner Rebellion is an event mostly forgotten today and not too many other films have been made about the man and his crusade. Using interviews and recreations, the folks replicate the events of this uprising as well as follow it from the rebellion in 1831 to the Civil War to the Civil Rights era. In other words, it puts it in a chronological context with later events and discusses its impact on them.

So where is the controversy? After all, Netflix talks about the 'controversy' concerning the rebellion. The film itself even talks about this. Unfortunately, here is where the documentary lost a bit of its momentum...at least for me. The first portion, about the rebellion and Turner, was great*. However, this was only about a third of the film and the rest was about the various interpretations and depictions of Turner. Since there is little contemporary historical data on the guy, folks have made him into all sorts of people and embellished his tale. This, to me, went on WAY too long and tried to generate controversy when instead I just wanted to hear about the events and their impact on the abolitionist movement.

*Oddly one of the interviewees seemed to place the institution of slavery and the murderous rebellion on the same moral plane..so she was apparently nuts and one of the few exceptions to the general consensus about the morality of the events.


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