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Amazing Grace

Year: 2006
Production Co: Fourboys Films
Director: Michael Apted
Producer: Terrence Malick
Cast: Ioan Gruffudd, Romola Garai, Albert Finney, Michael Gambon, Rufus Sewell, Yousou N'Dour, Ciaran Hinds
Some actors never learn, choosing the same tired roles that let them coast for a decade or so before everyone realises how ridiculous they look. Stallone, Willis, Governator et al, we're looking at you.

Ioan Gruffudd deserves an Academy Award not for his performance in Amazing Grace but for stepping so decisively out of the shackles of the Fantastic Four franchise.

In fact, it's a wonder this movie didn't do better come awards season when it was released. Hollywood players love a guilt movie about injustices like racism, slavery and corruption, and this has it all. William Wilberforce (Gruffudd) was a confidante and friend to a progressive Prime Minister of England, William Pitt, and a dedicated slavery abolitionist on moral grounds.

But he faced a hostile British parliament who was in the pockets of too many moneyed interests who relied on the economics of slave trading to survive, and he fought tirelessly for decades to end the slave trade.

Directed by Michael (Up series) Apted, everyone - including some heavy-duty thesps like Albert Finney and Michael Gambon - does a great job and although it's at times heavy handed it's worth watching.

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