Although it shares the same title, The Birth of a Nation is not a remake of the 1915 silent film, which history tells us was a rallying cry and gave fresh life to the Ku Klux Klan. Nate Parker's film tells the opposite version of the story and he is the driving force behind the film. He co-wrote, directed and stars in this film about a brutal slave uprising in Virginia.
Most likely not much time was spent at your school describing the events surrounding this movie so here's a quick black history fact. Nat Turner was a literate slave who taught himself how to read. He used his ability to preach the gospel on the plantation to fellow slaves. In 1831, desperate for money, his owner hired him out to other slave owners to preach the gospel on plantations throughout Virginia. Their goal was to use the word of God to keep their slaves under control.
However Turner saw all of the atrocities and the inhumane treatment that was taking place on plantations and instead used the good book to inspire the slaves to rise up against their masters. By the way, The Bible plays a big part in the movie. The film shows how it was used by slave owners to justify their cruel treatment of their slaves by preaching obedience and how Turner used the book to try and deliver the slaves from bondage. The movie, while based on historical facts, takes quite a few liberties in the telling the story that are far from the actual events.
Do we need another slave movie? That's a question I'm sure many will ask, but this movie is well acted and well told. If you're going to watch another slave movie; it may as well be a good one. It took Nate Parker seven years to make this movie. It's obviously something he's passionate about.
Be warned! This movie is brutal! It is rated R because of some disturbing scenes and some partial nudity. It runs right at two hours; which is about all I could take of such a brutal film. You'll will come out of the theater exhausted from watching all of the inhumanity to mankind.
On my "Hollywood Popcorn Scale" I rate The Birth of a Nation a LARGE.