Dustin tackled this a month back with the news that Apple TV+ had returned Emancipation back to a 2022 release, but they’ve now delivered a full-length trailer and it’s worth a look. Antoine Fuqua, the man who brought us Training Day, Tears of the Sun, Shooter, The Equalizer, and the one episode of The Terminal List that didn’t entirely suck, has teamed up with Will Smith to deliver what looks like one man’s intense journey back to the family from which he was stolen. Smith plays “Whipped Peter,” an escaped slave whose ruined back you have almost certainly seen in documentaries and history books. The photo, taken by a Union Army doctor, helped indict slavery for Northern whites who had little concept of the brutal conditions under which so many Black people lived. Peter enlisted with the Union Army as soon as he was found, and little is known about his life outside the photo that became one of the first and most powerful examples of the new technology’s ability to provide evidence against lies and cruelty. Take a look.
To point out the obvious, Emancipation looks like a beautiful if emotionally grueling movie. The muted color palette is striking and the care and attention put into the cinematography is apparent just from this brief look. A movie well worth watching, to be sure, but potentially difficult. Smith had great success recently with Bad Boys For Life and King Richard before “The Slap” temporarily derailed his professional goals and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences hit him with an absurd 10-year ban from the Oscars. If this is as good as it looks, they may regret that.
Emancipation premieres in theaters in just two weeks, on December 2, and arrives on Apple TV+ a week later on December 9.