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Valenti blows away ‘Hurricane’ critics

Exec says pic doesn't demean, honors 'basic facts'

Motion Picture Assn. of America chief Jack Valenti has weighed in against those who have criticized the historical accuracy of “The Hurricane” with a strong defense of the film’s message.

In an open letter titled “Guarding the Temples of Justice,” Valenti acknowledged that critics of the Universal Pictures release include families of the victims of the shootings that sent Rubin “Hurricane” Carter to jail; families of detectives aggrieved by portrayals of investigators; an ex-boxer who disagreed with his portrayal; and lawyers and journalists who believe their roles in freeing Carter were diminished in the film.

“The tragedy of this avalanche of censure is that it intrudes on the message of the movie which illuminates the rightness of American justice,” Valenti wrote.

“‘The Hurricane’ is a special story about the triumph of truth, wherein the judicial system rose to challenge a pattern of misconduct and prejudice, and in so doing unlocked the prison doors behind which Rubin Carter spent so many lost years.”

Valenti asserted that the film, for which Denzel Washington has been nominated for a best actor Oscar, does not demean the families of victims or ignore the “valiant” lawyers who worked on the case.

‘Honoring’ the facts

“If the movie appeared, in the minds of some critics, to slight anyone, it was because visual storytelling’s requisites are drama at its highest level and a taut narrative which sometimes vaults over the nooks and crannies of every detail, though honoring the basic facts of the true story,” he said.

“What ‘The Hurricane’ declares in blazing scenes which beguile the emotions is that even the humblest of citizens, those who think they are disenfranchised, pressed against the wall because of circumstances over which they have no control, are not lost or forgotten when justice is called to perform its constitutional duties.”

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