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Overall Rating

Awesome: 15.84%
Worth A Look39.6%
Average: 28.71%
Pretty Bad: 11.88%
Total Crap: 3.96%

10 reviews, 41 user ratings

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Hurricane, The
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by Greg Muskewitz

"Cliché is a strong contender that Washington must face."
3 stars

What's most frustrating about The Hurricane is the fact that we all know Rubin "Hurricane" Carter was served an unfair injustice by being framed in a bout of racism for murder. So of course, it's a natch in the end when we feel all inspired by his struggle for freedom and justice. But director Norman Jewison plays it all like melodrama and hits all the clichés. And with all the year-end awards hype, The Hurricane is a snowball gathering up critical masses only for it to be halfway melted by the end.

With verbal approval by the real Carter, Denzel Washington portrays him not just fairly, but with spirit. Delving into Carter's past, we become privy to a childhood experience where he and several friends are approached by a child molester. He, however, turns out to be a political figure, and upon accusations, Carter is apprehended by the police -not his last run-in. Slimy, scum-bag detective Della Pesca (played slimily and scum-baggily by Dan Hedaya) has it in for Carter, so decades later, after a boxing match, a murder of several in a coffee shop calls for the round-up of primarily African-American suspects. Carter's in the wrong place at the wrong time, and he's pulled into a hospital room where one dying victim is asked to I.D. him. Twice the answer is no, but the detective books him anyway. And by tampering with evidence, Rubin Carter is sentenced with three consecutive life terms.

The Hurricane's plot also takes place in the modern day (actually set back a dozen or so years ago) where a trio of Canadians (Deborah Kara Unger, Liev Schreiber, and John Hannah) who are home-schooling an under privileged African-American boy Lesra (Vicellous Reon Shannon). Lesra discovers a book written by Carter while in prison, and it inspires and encompasses him to fight for and help prove Carter's innocence.

The presentation of the non-linear storytelling and often cross-cutting between time frames provide a problem. Each time the narrative switches over to another section, the plot mechanisms lose rhythm and momentum. It's a distracting faults and is sometimes confusing. And then by masking the fight sequences in a bland black-and-white, those are the scenes that least need to be separated from the rest. Jewison ends up adding an i into style where it does not belong and makes some irregular directorial decisions for someone so 'seasoned.' The performances are all juiced to the max, but I fault the screenplay by Armyan Bernstein and Dan Gordon for the movie's shortcomings. It is informative all around, but it develops sections of lesser interest and doesn't adeptly fill out the areas of most interest. (Who are these Canadians? Obviously there's a lot of action surrounding them, but we're kept separated from it. In a story such as this and what they achieve, they're just as important as the protagonist.)

A mistake prior to viewing the movie on my part, was that I was under the impression that The Hurricane was intended to tell the story of his boxing conquests. Although the court room scenes are (mercifully) kept to a minimum, the weight of a 150-minute running time bring much of The Hurricane to a drag and a crawl.

It's very rare for Denzel Washington to turn in anything less than his best, and he doesn't let down here. Looking very toned, pumped and svelte, Washington peaks while in the ring -as a matter of fact, he is constantly peaking when out of the prison cell. Although leagues away in quality, I find the same true for Washington as I did for Helen Mirren in Teaching Mrs. Tingle: they spend too much of their time locked and tied up. The talent is leashed.

Unger, Schreiber and Hannah are well cast, but forgettable. This is beyond a vehicle for Washington (though it is a vehicle for Jewison), and it serves to showcase Shannon as well. Here and there you'll catch him struggling along, but he pushed forth, and that's what this movie is about. Yes, it's clichéd inspiration, which is inspiration never the less, but it does it from the heart, and that's what counts.

Final Verdict: B.

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originally posted: 09/20/00 09:22:23
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User Comments

3/21/09 brian Amazing that so many cling to falsified "evidence" to find Carter guilty with no motive. 5 stars
1/09/09 Shaun Wallner Kept me on the edge of the seat! 4 stars
8/22/06 jhvuy its good 5 stars
12/13/05 Phil M. Aficionado After researching, the movie is VERY bogus; fantasy; Denzel great but film distorts/omits. 1 stars
11/22/05 Treva best every and anyone who says he is guilty should be kild 5 stars
10/19/04 jordon not bad, not bad at all 4 stars
8/09/04 lee the best 5 stars
4/21/04 Laura It made me think. It made me cry. Best film I have seen. 5 stars
2/08/04 lee Thomas Was a insight into real courage 5 stars
4/04/03 Jack Bourbon He's guilty as sin and you all know it. 1 stars
1/29/03 Pinkline Jones Not all that remarkable - watchable 4 stars
3/29/02 Denzel Washingotn fan in mourning Denzel should have won best actor for this & not robbed Sean or Russel w/lurid Training Day 5 stars
3/25/02 Natalie Stonecipher Denzel should've won best actor for this instead of playing a fucked up psycho cop! 5 stars
10/16/01 Kelly Very inspirational and emotional great watch great ending! The best! 5 stars
8/07/01 Mr. Hat THE BEST DRAMA I'VE EVER SEEN. 5 stars
5/02/01 J Wanna know what I thnk? Read D.F.E's review. 4 stars
3/24/01 steven it sucks, if you ask me 1 stars
3/08/01 Ed Lewandowski Loved the soundtrack - well just Bob Dylan Actually! 4 stars
1/28/01 Mitja Podgajski good story, really good scenes, atention.. I love it! 5 stars
9/30/00 Matthew Bartley Denzel amazes but the film doesn't quite match him 4 stars
8/15/00 Monday Morning Den-zel! Den-zel! Den-zel! He's terrific but film too long to sustain quality & interest. 4 stars
7/30/00 Trina M. Barnard slow start, but picks up and turns out to be a great movie 5 stars
7/19/00 The Bomb 69 Denzel was awesome, deserved an oscar, story was average 3 stars
4/17/00 Add An interesting and provoking story that was ruined by a typical Hollywood telling 3 stars
4/14/00 k.sydenham wonderful,one of the best i've seen 5 stars
4/07/00 SID Not bad, but overrated. It's bitter throughout don't expect the feel good movie of the year 3 stars
3/24/00 malcolm Denzel - incredible as usual. predictable story. too damn long! 4 stars
3/17/00 Mic Washington and Steiger are great, but script lacking in places. 4 stars
3/16/00 Justine Briggs Enjoyed this tremendously, especially Denzel 4 stars
3/07/00 Joel Harwood DENZEL WASHINGSTON should get BEST ACTOR oscar 5 stars
3/06/00 cynthia it was alittle boring in parts but pretty good 3 stars
2/27/00 Bueller ...and the Oscar goes to...Denzel Washington! 4 stars
2/27/00 JimBob cried several times, this movie is a tribute to all thats good in human beings 5 stars
2/13/00 Mr Glute A little too much artistic license with the facts, but Denzel takes centre stage well. 4 stars
2/08/00 Obi Wan Great Movie...Denzel @ his best again. Why doesn't he get more roles like this?? 4 stars
1/19/00 jenn "Blu Smrf" this movie was very well done, the acting was incredible 4 stars
1/17/00 Malbert Denzel&'Lesra'(Vicellous Reon Shannon)were was not wonderful, but very good 4 stars
1/14/00 Joe Shapira Denzel is amazing as always 5 stars
12/30/99 Damian Lackey I walked in with high expectations, but the movie was absoluely horrid! 1 stars
12/30/99 Mike Lancaster Overlong & plays 2 loose with the facts. Despite film's shortcomings, DW willbe nominated 3 stars
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  29-Dec-1999 (R)



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