“To The Manor Born — The Other, Slavery.”

Within moments of Savannah starting, one couldn’t help but compare it to the images I held in my head, whilst reading James A. Michener’s Chesapeake. Michener’s novel contained some details and similarities, to which Savannah is based, like the limitations put on duck hunting. But also how Ward Allan, a man of great rhetoric and principal, finally has to accept the reality of his situation, and fight for what he believes. Watching Ward Allen in court, and the way the judgement always ended in his favour was particularly funny, and displayed yet another side to a complex and deep character.

Ward Allen (Jim Caviezel) could have lived well from his large inheritance, but instead chose the simple life of a duck-hunter, making his only companions, before marriage, a dog, and a freed slave called Christmas Moultrie (Chiwetel Ejiofor). He is constantly being taken to court for shooting too many duck, after the government passed a new law preventing it. Both he and the court, don’t take the proceeding too seriously, as Ward quotes Shakespeare with razor-sharp wit, but eventually they have no choice. A recently married Lucy (Jaimie Alexander) gives new husband Ward a pen, telling him he must fight with a new weapon.

Annette Haywood-Carter
Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jim Caviezel and Jaimie Alexander
Release Date
23 August, 2013
Influx Grade: A

The acting in Savannah was very good indeed, but the pairing of Caviezel and Ejiofor was great, as they were particularly well matched, and we see the oft silent bond the pair develop, with the deep kinsmanship they feel. There were a couple of scenes that stood out, of the duo. One of which was, they hadn’t spoken in a while, after having words, but just before another court appearance, as they both enter the building, they hold the doors for each other, showing respect as equals. A simple, yet powerful scene. Jaimie Alexander is an actor I like, and played the Lucy role very convincingly, and really gave Savannah a nice balance, because this being a movie about duck-hunting, could have become strictly one for the boys. Director Annette Haywood-Carter, script-supervisor on Of Mice and Man and Driving Miss Daisy, has created a wonderful piece of film, showing a man struggle with life, but invites us to share in her vision. I see Haywood-Carter hasn’t been doing a great deal of movies, but I hope this changes. Savannah is an independently made film, with a cast, direction and production of the highest standards.

It was nice seeing Hal Holbrook and Tracey Walter, two great veterans of cinema, then of course Sam Shepard, who played Ward’s father. This is a movie that stays with you for a while, lingering, but eventually leaving you knowing you have just witnessed something special. This is one of the best indies I’ve seen all year.

Nav Qateel

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