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Movie Review

Based on a true story, The Hurricane introduces moviegoers to Rubin Carter, the New Jersey boxer sentenced to life imprisonment in 1967 for murders he didn’t commit. Singled out and set up by a racist cop, he spends ore than half of his life behind bars before a passionate young man and his crusading tutors read Carter’s autobiography, start a pen-pal relationship and eventually put their own lives on hold to battle for his release.

The film celebrates the human spirit while denouncing racism and hatred. Even Carter, who initially leans on hate to survive, chooses to silence that voice. His new friends’ love, tenacity and self-sacrifice takes Matthew 25:43c to a noble extreme. Teenage viewers would also benefit from powerful statements about hard work and accepting responsibility for our own personal growth.

They would, that is, if The Hurricane weren’t pummeled by a vicious combination of obscenities (25 f-words, over a dozen s-words, and blasphemous uses of God’s name). The movie also lands a low blow with needlessly graphic violence (brief, bloody shootings). Too bad.

In the role of Carter, Washington deftly conveys the fighter’s inner turmoil and steely determination to remain above his circumstances ("It’s very important to transcend the places that hold us"). The confines of a boxing ring. The walls of a courtroom. The steel bars of a cell. Even the shackles of his own psyche. This brilliant performance could win him his second Oscar. It’s a shame that, due to harsh content, more people won’t get a chance to see it.

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Denzel Washington, John Hannah, Liev Schreiber, Deborah Kara Unger, Vicellous Reon Shannon, Dan Hedaya


Norman Jewison ( )


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Bob Smithouser

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