"The journey of spiritual growth requires courage and initiative and independence of thought and action. While the words of the prophets and the assistance of grace are available, the journey must still be traveled alone. No teacher can carry you there."
— M. Scott Peck, (American Psychiatrist)
In Malcolm X, Director Spike lee uses the film medium to track the spiritual journey of this controversial black Muslim leader, preacher, and activist. It happens to be a spiritually enriching testament to the human capacity for change. This historical, ambitious epic movie manages to sustain itself for 3 hours and 21 minutes. The film is carried by the quiet intensity of Denzel Washington as Malcolm X.
Who is Malcolm X ?
Malcolm Little was born on may 19, 1925 was an African American Muslim minister and human rights activist. He indicted the white America in harshest terms for its crimes against black Americans. . Detractors accused him of preaching racism, black supremacy, antisemitism, and violence. He has been called one of the greatest and most influential African Americans in history. He went by many names: Malcolm Little, then Red for the color of his hair. 'Satan' during the early part of his 6 1/2 -year prison stint; then Malcolm X, his Black Muslim name, and finally, after his break with Elijah Muhammad's Nation of Islam, he called himself El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz. In his 39 years , Malcolm X was many things : criminal , prisoner, leader, mystic, martyr.
Movie AnalysisIn the title role, Washington smooths the political figure's rough edges with his immensely likable personality; he also charges his quieter moments with passionate fire. Everyone who has a stake in Malcolm's legacy will argue about aspects of his character that seem overblown or skimped, but none can deny the conviction and grace of Washington's portrayal. Director Spike Lee convincingly tracks both the low and the high roads of Malcolm X's spiritual journey. His enormous affection for his hero suffuses his work, nevertheless resists the temptation to sanitize Malcolm as Richard Attenborough did Gandhi. The other performances convincingly mirror the man's charisma and its positive and negative results.
Malcolm X is a good movie, which is also educational. Sometimes going to see a movie that is good for you is like eating a food that is good for you, but that you don't like, broccoli, for instance. Malcolm X, I'm happy to say, is educational, but, like good food, is not hard to swallow. Near the end of his 39 years, Malcolm abandoned separatist teachings after his pilgrimage to Mecca, brought him into contact with devout Moslems of all races. And just as Malcolm opens his mind to the possibilities of global harmony, he attained his martyrdom.
Lee and company have performed a powerful service: they have brought Malcolm X very much to life again, both as man and myth. "Malcolm X" closes with Nelson Mandela's reading of one of Malcolm's more celebrated speeches, and finally with a attempt to tie it all together with cute schoolchildren. It's a little much, but then so was "Gandhi." Watch this sincere and heartfelt film , if you could afford 3 hours in your precious life.