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Thursday, January 20, 2000
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Volume 65, Issue 77

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Washington's brilliant showing makes Hurricane a solid film


The Hurricane

Universal Pictures
Starring: Denzel Washington, 
Vicellous Shannon
MPAA Rating: R

Grade: B -


By Rattaya Nimibutr
Daily Cougar Staff

In June 1966, Rubin "Hurricane" Carter was forced to take a different path from his intended one. A strong contender for the middleweight boxing title, his dreams were destroyed when he, an African-American, was wrongfully accused by racist cops of a murder in which three people were gunned down at Lafayette Bar and Grill in New Jersey.


George Kraychyk/Universal/Beacon Pictures


Promising boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter is imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit in Unversal Pictures' The Hurricane.

Director Norman Jewison (In the Heat of the Night ) brings the legend of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter to life in the motion picture The Hurricane, starring Denzel Washington (The Bone Collector ) as the boxing contender and Vicellous Shannon (Can't Hardly Wait) as a Brooklyn teenager who stumbles upon the boxer's autobiography and becomes determined to help him clear his name.

Based on Carter's book The 16th Round, which he published while in jail and which did not receive apropos attention, The Hurricane depicts the boxer's life genuinely well, both from the events throughout his trial to the mental stability he has to maintain while behind bars.

Set in the chaos of the '60s and early '70s, the direction of Carter's case slowly changes when Lesra, an American teenager who is convinced of Carter's innocence, explores the details of the trial with the help of three Canadian activists: Terry (John Hannah), Sam (Liev Schreiber) and Lisa (Deborah Kara Unger).


Ken Regan/Universal/Beacon Pictures


Rubin Carter's dreams were destroyed when he was sentenced to serve three life terms in prison for a crime he didn't commit.

Meanwhile the film starts to look like an episode of NYPD Blue, but dives much deeper into his imprisonment and his fight to clear his case. The film will leave you with the sentimental feeling of appreciation for Carter's plight.

While the viewer roots for Lesra and his three partners to help clear Carter's name, it is the relationship that develops between Lesra and Carter that becomes what will win over the audience. It is an example of a hero who needs his pupil as much as the pupil needs the hero.

Washington, who is downright befitting as Carter, portrays both the boxer's strength and weaknesses in what is definitely one of his finest works.

The Hurricane is a timeline movie in which a champion becomes a victim for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is interesting and allows the audience to step into the boxing ring of justice alongside Carter.

The film allows you to look inside an event that changes someone's entire life, and at the courageous fight to set him free.

The Hurricane does not stand out much from the crowd. The story isn't much different from that of other injustices, but it should get the attention it deserves for the thespians involved in the production. Washington, in particular, deserves the early award nominations he is receiving.
 

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