Right from the start, Selma is David Oyelowo's movie, through and through. Oyelowo doesn't just play Martin Luther King Jr., he inhabits the character. His performance is beyond excellent, giving us, the audience, more than we deserve. Oyelowo is an actor I struggle to recall seeing in other films, although according to IMDb I've seen quite a few. Tell me his name again in ten years and I can assure you, I will be able to name several of his movies. At 38 years old, Oyelowo's career is just getting started, proving to us all that he can act. Snubbed of an Oscar? Perhaps, but so many people and movies were this year that it's hard to keep track of who's who.
His screenplay, like most of the components of this film, is undeniably brilliant. Much like the directing, it's powerful stuff. Although certain scenes do tend to drag on a little during the first act, once the film gets going there's no stopping it. The time begins to fly by and my enjoyment levels begin to soar, which is especially impressive for a film featuring so many horrific and depressing situations.
To sum up, Selma is a powerful, important and occasionally challenging to watch movie, but it's oh-so-brilliant as well. With confident direction from Ava DuVerynay, a brilliant first-time screenplay by Paul Webb and an utterly perfect performance from David Oyelowo, Selma is a must see.