Posted in No Huddle by Jeremy Butler on August 27th, 2020
“What’s more important, Frederick? Freedom for one man, or freedom for all men?”
Inspired by a true legend. Emphasis on “inspired”, as this film does quite a bit of deviating from the historical data. Then again, I like to look at from the perspective of the main character: when recounting whether or not the legend that he is descended from kings is true, “It’s true to me.” Emperor is the tale of Shields Green, an outlaw slave in pre-Civil War South who went on to take part in the Harper’s Ferry raid, which is one of the events that sparked the Civil War. Dayo Okeniyi (Shades of Blue) has the momentous task of bringing this little-known historical figure to life. It is a challenge, but I do believe that Okeniyi was up to the task. While the story does have spurts of intrigue, for the most part it is told in a matter-of-fact tone, giving it the feel of reading it from a history book, minus the areas of deviation that is, which do come off as fantastical at times. Okeniyi is joined by Naturi Naughton (Power), Kat Graham (The Vampire Diaries), Harry Lennix (The Blacklist) as Frederick Douglass, and James Cromwell as John Brown.