One teenage black boy buys his first book for a quarter and, as a result, changes a whole lot of people’s lives in this incredible story about professional boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter.
The book he purchased was Carter’s prison-penned autobiography “The 16th Round”.
In June 1966, Carter (Denzel Washington) was a strong contender for the middleweight boxing title. Three people were murdered in a New Jersey bar one night and Carter was erroneously arrested, subsequently convicted of the crimes and sentenced to three life terms in prison.
The injustices done to Carter even inspired a Bob Dylan song back then and numerous celebrities called for his release. All to no avail. Carter was, as the story tells it, a victim of extreme prejudice by members of the New Jersey police department, Attorney General’s office, and the New Jersey courts who kept him locked away for twenty years before a black kid from Brooklyn named Lesra Martin (Vicellous Shannon) and three Canadian activists: Sam, Terry and Lisa (Liev Schreiber, John Hannah, Deborah Unger) joined forces to prove Carter’s innocence and get him released.
It’s a stirring tale of inspiration. For it is Carter’s writings that give Lesra, a disadvantaged youth, purpose while Lesra’s love and passions give Carter hope.
Denzel Washington is such a fine actor, always choosing roles with great purpose as this one. It’s a very strong performance, playing the alternately cocky, yet violent boxer to one who is so demoralized that he’s ready to give up the fight, after one appeal then another is turned down.
The film seemed longer than its 2-hours, 30-minutes length and that may very well be my only criticism of it. It was such a wonderful story and, in the end, it really didn’t matter.
The fight scenes were excellent and so were the flashback sequences.
Lotta says when “The Hurricane” blows into your neighborhood theaters, make sure you go in, batten down the hatches and enjoy Denzel Washington. He’s a powerhouse!