First Glance: “Emancipation”

It has been less than a year since the Oscar night ‘slap heard around the world’ – that ludicrous moment when Will Smith walked onto the stage during a live Oscar broadcast and slapped host Chris Rock across the face. Most of us felt it could be a while before we see Will Smith anywhere around the Academy Awards. But yesterday Apple dropped the new trailer for “Emancipation”, a historical thriller that will be releasing right during the heart of awards season.

“Emancipation” is based on a harrowing yet important true story. Smith plays Peter, a slave who escapes from a Louisiana plantation after being scourged nearly to death. With hunters chasing after him, Peter makes his way North where he eventually joins the Union Army. Images of Peter’s hideously scarred back were eventually published, offering proof of the brutal treatment of slaves by Southern slave owners. Directed by Antoine Fuqua, the film looks intense and Smith looks completely invested in the role. Hopefully it delivers.

“Emancipation” opens in theaters December 2nd before streaming on Apple TV+ December 9th. Check out the trailer below and let me know if you’ll be seeing it or taking a pass.

10 thoughts on “First Glance: “Emancipation”

  1. I have been looking forward to this project. When the studio initially said they were going to wait a year to release it, I figured it was to let things “cool down” a bit after the Smith slap. I don’t think audiences would stay away because of that – the delay decision was likely based on the prospects for award nominations. I find it really curious they would reverse course and release it now, but won’t draw any conclusions as to why.

    • I’m really surprised too and mainly due to the awards season influence the slap might have. I’ve always been lukewarm on Smith, so the slap wasn’t really going to deter whether I watched it or not. I’m interested so I’m gonna check it out.

  2. I saw the trailer yesterday and it looks… mid. I don’t know, something about it doesn’t look right and while it does have some intense moments. I’m not so sure about it.

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