American history strikes with emotion

David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King, Jr. Photo: PA Photo/Paramount Pictures/Atsushi Nishijima
David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King, Jr. Photo: PA Photo/Paramount Pictures/Atsushi Nishijima

More than 45 years after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr, director Ava DuVernay honours the memory of the leader of the US Civil Rights Movement with this impassioned biopic.

While there are lingering doubts about the historical accuracy of

In particular, the recreation of the iconic march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge chills the blood.

Oxford-born actor David Oyelowo delivers a breakout performance replete with Georgia accent as the activist.

He is mesmerising and would surely have been in Oscar contention as Best Actor later this month had Paul Webb’s script gifted him a few more barnstorming speeches.

DuVernay opens with a chilling act of violence that exemplifies racial tensions of the era. In 1960s America, political bureaucracy and prejudice deny the African-American electorate the chance to vote in the forthcoming election.

King and his team head to the community of Selma, Alabama to lead a peaceful march but local police attack protesters with batons as TV cameras capture the brutality for horrified viewers.