Selma achieves that goal.
Instead of focusing on a long-drawn out biography on activist Martin Luther King Jr's life. It sustains its true focus on the three month timeline of King's goal to achieve voting for African Americans by marching from Selma, AL to Montgomery, AL, the state capital to show the bull-headed snake of governor George Wallace (Tim Roth matches the oily persona) that refused to let them vote.
David Oyelowo is gripping and dynamic as King who brings his idea to the President of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson (Tom Wilkinson channels it nicely) but when he treats his idea as his 102nd problem. King teams up with James Bevel (Common), the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Director of Direct Action and Hosea Williams (Wendell Pierce) to bring this dream to fruition.
What a job by director Ava DuVernay bringing realism and brutalized truth to this event. When they attempt to march across the Edmund Pettis Bridge for the first of three times, lunch bags in hand and a fighting spirit. The police ordered them back to their home and even gave two minutes. When you see the reaction of Williams on the bridge, it is fear of no escape from the billy clubs and violence about to come upon them while King and the rest of America is watching it all happen on CBS News. Just like Ben Affleck did recreating the events in Argo, DuVernay leaves no stone unturned.
Humanization of the characters are what carry the film and that is a thank you to Paul Webb's adapted screenplay where the march is not the main story. It's the conflicting wordplay involving King and his followers figuring out if his doubts will hurt his dream. My favorite scenes were the quiet ones among King and his wife, Coretta Scott King (Carmen Ejogo) where she acknowledges his failure but reassurance to what the march will do. His passionate preaching at the podium that alone wants to make you go out and do something...for a reason. Along with King imploring to LBJ to let African Americans vote and let them walk to Montgomery.
They did not want to fight, just vote.
It was amazing to see the lengths some went to just to keep these innocent, non-violent people from voting because of the color of their skin.
That alone is wrong on many terms.
However, this film stayed the path and led to the passing of the Voting Rights Act in March 1965.
Selma is a film that needs to be respected (and not snubbed) for its terrific performances, respectable storytelling, sickening but true visuals by cinematographer Bradford Young that embodies the landmark event. When you walk out, make sure that Glory by Common and John Legend is what you are humming. We could definitely take note to how to react to conflict in a better way than what has happened lately.