‘Bilal: A New Breed of Hero’ | Movie Review
Bilal: A New Breed of Hero is about an Ethiopian man, Bilal ibn Rabah, stolen as a seven-year-old child (along with his sister) and forced into a life of slavery far from home and his journey to freedom.
The retelling of Bilal’s life is poignant, emotionally direct yet handled in a way that leaves it highly accessible and engaging for all viewers.
It brings positive attention to a part of the world often treated as a monolith and vilified.
His life story unfolds unevenly – passage of time is abrupt – and sets a somber but uplifting tone (the pacing of dialogue is more methodical than people are used to in animated films) to a story that encompasses heroism, heartbreak, and costly triumph.
The CGI-animation style creates a vivid and compelling visual backdrop for a time long past and a world often difficult to envision for many. The narration is by no means glitch free but the voice actors infuse the characters with feeling and
1,400 years ago, a man followed a philosophy of equality that required him to not only recall his dreams of being a great warrior and embrace an ideology that could cost him his life.
I’d never heard the name Bilal ibn Rabah but I found his story to be intriguing.
This man mustered his will to rebuke the chains of slavery and fight for freedom. He ultimately became a revered leader among and helped to establish traditions that persist through today.
Bilal: A New Breed of Hero opens the door to an aspect of history frequently ignored in favor of pre-packaged snapshots of “facts” that disconnect a people from their past, motivations and historical roots. Without being heavy-handed, it tells the story of a changing world and a man who stepped forward to guide people to a better, united future.
It’s not technically perfect and I wish the story progression would’ve spent more time on certain aspects of his life – like his singing and the deeper significance it ultimately has for his culture.
Bilal: A New Breed of Hero speaks to the power one man can have if he chooses to act rather than accept.
This animated film is a perfect gateway to stories about historical figures not often highlight on the big screen.
I enjoyed it and I hope we get more stories like it.
Rating: 3 out of 5
In Theaters: , Limited
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