ANTEBELLUM is a new Horror-Thriller produced by Jordan Peele (Get Out). The concept is absolutely amazing but, unfortunately, the execution just isn’t. It’s a real shame, but the movie is still worth watching. Read our full Antebellum review!
ANTEBELLUM is a new horror-thriller that plays with the concept of time and eras as well as political issues. The movie is produced by Jordan Peele, who gave us both Get Out and Us, so it should come as no surprise that race and racism are at the forefront.
However, I can’t help but think this movie would’ve been better directed by Jordan Peele himself. The concept and overall plot of this movie are worthy of a definite top rating, but the execution just doesn’t work all that well.
Also, please avoid spoilers and watch this movie knowing as little about it as possible.
Continue reading our spoiler-free Antebellum movie review below.
The opening scene is perfect in its brutality
If there is one thing I cannot fault when it comes to Antebellum, it’s the opening scene. Practically no words are spoken, but the score swells as the camera pans across a slave plantation. Here we witness pure evil and brutality in various forms.
Not since The Invisible Man has an opening scene been that good at setting the mood. Both demanding and receiving the immediate full attention of its audience. No words are needed when both the imagery and music say so much. Unfortunately, the rest of Antebellum can’t live up to this opening scene.
Don’t get me wrong. Plenty of brutal scenes full of realistic and racist horrors continue, but the timing and intensity is never that spot-on again. Some plot reveals are also slow to come which doesn’t help the story along. This is exactly what Jordan Peele tends to do so extremely well; Time the big reveals perfectly!
Janelle Monáe as the main protagonist
With Antebellum, Janelle Monáe is the absolute star of a feature film after having co-starred in Hidden Figures (2016) with Octavia Spencer (Ma) and Taraji P. Henson. She did also star as the main protagonist in season 2 of Homecoming, where she did a great job.
Actually, I tend to be pretty happy with Janelle Monáe’s performances in movies and TV series. For Antebellum, she just did not work very well which is a damn shame. This movie would have been quite different if the main character had been portrayed differently.
Obviously, she isn’t the only actor in Antebellum which has many intriguing characters and solid performances. Jena Malone (Bottom of the World) is fascinating in a way similar to that of her Hunger Games’ character. She definitely isn’t likable, but you have no doubt where she stands. The same goes for Kiersey Clemons from the Flatliners reboot and Sweetheart, who I wish would have had a much bigger part in Antebellum.
Other key characters are portrayed by actors such as Eric Lange (Escape at Dannemora) and Jack Huston (Mr. Mercedes), who both delivered some impressive and nuanced portrayals. They’re absolute villains of the story but it’s intriguing to watch them be this cruel in very realistic ways.
Don’t miss out on Antebellum
Despite the fact that I was quite disappointed with elements of the Antebellum movie, I do still think the concept alone makes it very relevant and important. In other words, I really hope people will watch this and take it all in.
The filmmaker duo Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz wrote and directed Antebellum together. For the record, Gerard Bush is a black man while Christopher Renz is white. Does this matter? Well, I don’t think two white men making this movie would have lead to the same result. So… yes!
The duo made music videos in the past along with a documentary in 2016. Antebellum is their feature film debut and it is a strong debut. But it could have been downright amazing!
Bottom line; If you liked Get Out and Us, then you definitely need to check out Antebellum as well – just be ready for the fact that this movie is on a different level in terms of nailing its plot points.
Antebellum (2020) is out on premium video-on-demand from September 18, 2020.
Directors: Gerard Bush, Christopher Renz
Writers: Gerard Bush, Christopher Renz
Cast: Janelle Monáe, Marque Richardson II, Eric Lang, Jack Huston, Kiersey Clemons, Tongayi Chirisa, Gabourey Sidibe, Rob Aramayo, Lily Cowles, Jena Malone
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