Ezra Image

Mixed or average reviews - based on 7 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: Throughout the world, hundreds of thousands of children are kidnapped by marauding armies and transformed into child-soldiers. These soldiers help escalate the chaos and madness that has engulfed much of the African continent. Many were already orphaned by years of civil war, but they find a new kind of family in the brutal ragtag military that captures them body and soul. Ismael Beah's A Long Way Gone is a best-selling memoir of his experiences as a child-soldier in Sierra Leone, and now Ezra by Nigerian filmmaker Newton Aduaka becomes the first dramatic feature to do justice to this frightening phenomenon. Ezra's story is told in a series of flashbacks: Brainwashed by the military, he's given powerful amphetamine shots that keep him awake for days, destroy his capacity for conscience, and wipe out any memory of the bloody events in which he participates. (Film Forum) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 7
  2. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    Unsparing, pedagogic, and genuinely compelling.
  2. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    Aduaka's comprehensive account of an African nightmare covers a lot of important ground, making this flawed film worth seeing.
  3. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    A passionate, harrowing drama about rebellion, atrocity and child soldiering in Africa, Ezra is raw and violent. There's no denying the film's power, or its frankness regarding the ongoing tragedy of Africa.
  4. There’s no questioning the sincerity of the filmmakers or the urgency of the subject matter, but the clumsiness with which this harrowing story of a child soldier in Africa may wear you out long before the puzzle is put together.
  5. The story is hell to follow--the flashbacks aren’t in chronological order--and the nonacting variable.
  6. The movie’s sense of time is as vague as Ezra’s perception of it. Chaos is all he knows. Making Ezra even harder to follow, and undermining its authenticity, is the fact that its mostly African cast speaks in a heavily accented English. Mr. Kamara’s glowering lead performance, however, is riveting.
  7. The film is so committed to its view of Ezra as a pawn in the psychotic game of postcolonial Africa that he is never allowed, as a character, to become more than a pawn.