The Hurricane (1999)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Biopic [feature], Courtroom Drama, Message Movie, Prison Film  |   Release Date - Nov 9, 1937 (USA - Unknown), Dec 29, 1999 (USA)  |   Run Time - 155 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Karl Williams

The true-life story of an up-and-coming boxer convicted of a bloody crime he probably didn't commit, this drama has more heart than the stereotypical prison drama because it's cleverly told from a unique perspective: that of an inspired youth attempting to get his jailed hero freed. The script by Dan Gordon, who successfully mapped unjustly imprisoned territory once before with Murder in the First (1995), is a top-notch affair that keeps the pace moving -- an admirable bit of work considering the film's rather dour subject matter. Denzel Washington is a mask of pride and barely contained rage in a role that will likely stand as a career highlight for the intense actor and his left-leaning, socially conscious director Norman Jewison. While playing at times like a narrative goulash into which a little bit of every drama genre is thrown (including sports, courtroom, ghetto, and prison), The Hurricane is a moving, powerful story that's stylishly told on every level: visually, emotionally, and intellectually.