Film Review – Emperor (2020)

Inspired by a true story following the inspirational against all odds plight of escaped slave era legend, Shields Green and his chance encounters with significant historical figures John Brown and Frederick Douglass, this is a solid, enjoyable, fast-moving journey sure to create conversation.

Enigmatic, Dayo Okeniyi (Danny Dyson in Terminator Genisys – 2015) is plantation slave Shields, who takes it upon himself to avenge an attack on his son and death of his wife, escaping the clutches of white owner supremacy to go on the run to potential freedom.

With a little help along the way from various counterparts and even a few adversaries, he Ignites a mini rebellion that escalates across the land as word gets around of his unlikely exploits.

Editing is sharp, condensing action scenes into thrilling scenarios including an excellent horse and cart chase, to further challenging moments defying the grasp of bounty hunters.

The immersive talent of writer, director Mark Amin, is obvious; a veteran producer making his successful feature debut.

This awful slice of history makes me sad to relive, albeit a movie, authentic Savannah locations and screenplay era mentality towards people of colour is grim. Thankfully the story of Shields becomes somewhat enlightening.

One of my favourite ex-presidents, James LeGros (Point Break – 1991) makes a brief appearance, as does legendary Bruce Dern and James Cromwell.

Nice to see funny man Paul Scheer, setting up the plot in a semi-dramatic role as a compulsive gambler, but fair plantation owner losing it all, vacating the premise leaving his workers in less happier times.

Probably not totally historically accurate, but gets the message across in an absorbing manner.


History, Drama | USA, 2020 | 12 | DVD, Digital HD | 1st March 2020 (UK) | Kaleidoscope Entertainment | Dir.Mark Amin | Dayo Okeniyi, James Cromwell, Kat Graham, Bruce Dern, Mykelti Williamson, Ben Robson

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