The year is 1869. Slavery is a crime punishable by death, yet the skin trade continues, driven by unrestrained greed. Twenty-four African captives fill the tiny hull of the slave ship Argon Miss off the west coast of Africa. As the ship travels to an unknown destination, its inhabitants begin to buckle under the daily regimen of cruelty and abuse. When an ancient spirit appears from within the wooden planks of the ship calling for relase by fire, captive men and women led by Fyah (Djimon Hounsou-Amistad, “E.R.”), are driven toward escape through a bloody uprising.
Shot on location in Cameroon and co-starring Akosua Busia (The Color Purple, Rosewood), Ill-Gotten Gains is the first film of its kind, predating Spielberg’s Amistad by two years, and presents a chilling portrait of the spirit of rebellion.