Action R Running time: 2:26
IMDB rating: 7.6 Aspect: Wide; Languages: English, French; Subtitles: None; Audio: DD 5.1
In his direction of The Hurricane, veteran filmmaker Norman Jewison understands that slavish loyalty to factual detail is no guarantee of compelling screen biography. In telling the story of boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter--who was wrongly convicted of murder in 1967 and spent nearly two decades in jail--Jewison and his screenwriters compress time, combine characters, and rearrange events with a nonchalance that would be galling if they didn't remain honest to the core truth of Carter's ordeal. Because of that emotional integrity--and because Denzel Washington brings total conviction to his title role--The Hurricane rises above the confines of biographical fidelity to embrace higher values of courage, compassion, and ultimate justice. Jewison is woefully heavy-handed in his treatment of the fictionalized, absurdly villainous detective (Dan Hedaya) who zealously plots to keep Carter in jail, and anyone familiar with Carter's story may object to the film's simplified account. But what matters here is the shining star of hope that is Lesra (Vicellous Reon Shannon), the Brooklyn teenager who rejuvenates Carter's legal battle in the early 1980s. This surrogate father-son relationship is what revives Carter's hope for family and future, and makes The Hurricane so engrossing and emotionally effective. Lesra's real-life Canadian mentors are compressed from nine characters to three, but their efforts are superbly dramatized, and Jewison hits the small but important grace notes that make a good film even better. By its final scenes, The Hurricane conveys the rich, rewarding satisfaction of surviving a difficult but valuable journey of mind, body, and soul.