The Amazing Grace

The Amazing Grace


Reviewed by: Darren Amner

This film tells the story of John Newton’s experiences as a slave trader in Old Calabar. Newton goes on an incredibly important journey where he discovers humanity one night. While aboard his ship, fresh from collecting workers, he encounters a storm and is rescued by two slaves - one of whom he falls for and who shows him the meaning of true love. He later renounces slave trading and pursues religion and learns we are all cut from the same cloth regardless of race or religion.

His self-discovery would lead to the writing of one of the most well-known hymns to grace the Church and the inspiration for this piece of music is the slaves.

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This is Nigeria’s first ever movie shot on 35mm film. Being their first effort, a lot of care and attention has been lavished on the production, clearly emphasised by the sweeping opening shot backed by Joke Silva’s entrancing voiceover with sets the scene for this moving tale. However, the same cannot be said for the script, which is clichéd and flat. The story is almost absent, with its characters coming across as disjointed. Colouring the palette with romance and sad music is no distraction and only adds to the fact that this film is deeply unfulfilling.

The images - all birds and sunsets - were beautifully captured but it does have a direct-to-video stamp all over it. The director seems determined to dazzle the audience with imagery, giving it precedence over structure and storytelling. Performances are mediocre, although surprisingly Nick Moran delivers his best performance to date.

It is easy to become disengaged from the movie – yet the subject matter and themes are interesting and completely relevant and important in the world today. Amazing Grace is one of those movies whose low budget doesn't work in its favour.

Reviewed on: 14 Sep 2007
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The story of what inspired John Newton to write the hymn Amazing Grace.
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Director: Jeta Amata

Writer: Jeta Amata, Scott Cleverdon, Nick Moran

Starring: Nick Moran, Scott Cleverdon, Mbong Odungide, Fred Amata, James Hicks, Joke Silva, Zack Amata, Itam Efa Williamson, Ita Bassey, Chica Chukwu, Hannah Aniekan

Year: 2006

Runtime: 98 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: Nigeria, UK


Raindance 2007

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