Movies of the Week: The Birth of a Nation and The Girl on the Train

This weekend will be a tad hectic for me, but I will assuredly do my utmost to see two features that I’ve had my eye on for sometime. This weekend, the opportunity for me to see a film with serious clout as a potential Oscars contender in The Birth of a Nation. Written, starring and directed by Nate Parker, who is currently weathering a storm of controversy, The Birth of a Nation is set in the antebellum South, and follows a literate enslaved preacher named Nat Turner who after witnessing atrocities and violence against his people, marshals a revolt that will make its mark on the history of this country.

What am I expecting to see from The Birth of a Nation?: When word caught my ears about this film and after watching the trailers, a feeling was evoked within me that reminded me of a previous Oscar winning Best Picture years ago and thus, this became one of my most anticipated films of the year. Granted, I am aware of the controversy surrounding Nate Parker, but I am invested in this film for this film and I pray that this is the film that distinguish itself as one of the year’s best. I look forward to a film with a solid acting ensemble including Arnie Hammer, Jackie Earle Haley, Gabrielle Union, Mark Boone Junior, Dwight Henry and Aunjanue Ellis. I want The Birth of a Nation to live up the high expectations I have set for it.

I found out recently that Emily Blunt has a thing for starring in thrillers and I can believe that. Last year she starred in one of the best thrillers films of the 2015 and The Girl on the Train yields a eerily familiar vibe to one of the best films of 2014. Blunt stars as a divorcee who saw something she shouldn’t have seen and spirals into a scenario where she is unraveling at the seams because she has seen something she shouldn’t have seen. Paula Hawkins’ highly acclaimed novel is adapted to the screen by Erin Cressida Wilson and is directed by Tate Taylor.

What am I expecting to see from The Girl on the Train?: Maybe I am setting myself up for failure because I expect this to be the next Gone Girl but I cannot deny that the tone and the plot of both films feels vaguely familiar and perhaps that is why I’m drawn to this film. I’ve liked Tate Taylor’s movies and Blunt is quite the accomplished actress, so I feel confident that I may enjoy this movie. I hope Wilson’s screenplay can accurately capture the tension and striking power of Hawkins’ novel and I hope that the supporting cast of Haley Bennett, Justin Theroux, Rebecca Ferguson, Laura Prepon, Luke Evans, Allison Janney and Lisa Kudrow can elevate Blunt’s performance and the suspense appeal of the feature. The Girl on the Train can have impactf if the execution is done proper.

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