hanging-out-logo

Film Blog

12 Years a Slave – A Missed Opportunity?

posted by the hanging out team - Sunday, January 26, 2014

12 Years a Slave is adapted by screenwriter and novelist John Ridley and directed by Steve McQueen from a memoir written 150 years ago, by Solomon Northup.  It tells the true story of a black man born free in New York State, tricked, drugged and snatched off the streets of Washington and sold into slavery in the South.

There are great performances from all cast members with, Chiwetel Ejiofor holding on to the dignity of Northup, making the audience question what you would do if your freedom and power were taken away over night. Lupita Nyong'o makes a stunning debut as Patsey, a field slave who was born into slavery.

McQueen effortlessly draws you along the journey of the film with strong powerful visuals that tackle and immerse you into the ugly realities of slavery head on.

We get a well composed continued shot of Solomon's wondering face full of hope, fear and loss after a conversation with a sympathetic carpenter Bass, played by Brad Pitt, then his view falls onto the audience, engaging you into this moment of reflection on the journey he’s been through.

We also see Northup become the victim of an attempted lynching by his overseer, as he dangles from a tree by his neck, his toes scrabbling on the ground desperately trying to keep him self from dying. McQueen shoots this scene as a punishing long take from a distance. It’s length and intensity impresses on the audience a feeling of crisis.

The film has a very swift end, that feels rushed and I was left wanting more of Solomon Northup’s journey as a free man in New York. What was everyday life like for black people during that time in the free North? An opportunity was missed here to delve deeper into this story, as I think only then would the audience have truly been able to feel the real contrast between having freedom in one moment and then losing it all in the next.

You can watch 12 Years a Slave until the 30th January at the Rich Mix in Bethnal Green.

Elam Forrester, Hanging Out Project Writer

Django Unchained

posted by the hanging out team - Thursday, February 07, 2013

 image is copyright of the Weinstein Company

The name Tarantino brings with it some expectation when walking in to a screening of one of his films. Apart from the inevitable controversy, trailers, and interviews (including a particularly toe curling channel 4 one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrsJDy8VjZk) announcing its arrival, the very fact that it carries the name Tarantino meant I went into that cinema screening with rather a lot of presumptions; it was going to be violent, bloody, frenetic, and over the top, and, well, I wasn’t wrong.

‘Django Unchained’ is set in 1858 in the America’s Deep South just before the abolition of slavery. It’s a period in American history which seems to be getting some cinematic attention recently (courtesy of Mr Spielberg as well as a certain presidential vampire hunter), but Django is a very different beast from them both. The film follows a former dentist, now bounty hunter, Dr King Schultz, who buys the freedom of the slave Django to help complete a job. Along the way, the narrative turns to revenge as Django, aided by the doctor, enacts his vengeance on those white racists who’ve abused him, his wife, and other slaves in numerous different and brutal ways.

‘Django Unchained’ has its entertaining scenes including a particularly comic one in which the Ku Klux Klan struggle with the shoddily cut eye holes in their home made hoods. There are great performances; a brilliantly vile Leonardo DiCaprio chews up the scenery and sneers as he does so as the slave owner and business man Calvin Candie, and Christoph Waltz does a decent job as Dr. King Schultz. The mix-tape like soundtrack of contemporary pop songs woven in with the period setting works, and there are some tense moments, particularly in a scene round a dinner table, in which Dr Schultz and Django try to dupe the pernicious Mr Candie. The problem is these moments occur within a film which feels completely over-stuffed, and way over-long.

There are exciting, frenetic sequences of hyper, explosive, ‘watered-down-ketchup’ style violence where Django bloodies up his oppressors, but they sit uneasily with another type of violence. Slaves are tied up, whipped, abused, and ripped apart by dogs, and these moments don’t sit well alongside the stylized pulpy violence more familiar to Tarantino. Another irk of ‘Django Unchained’ is its use of racial epithets. The dialogue is peppered with that n-word, and contrary to the director’s claim, it doesn’t seem to me to be there for the purpose of historical accuracy (instead I imagine the gleeful grin on Quentin’s face as he wrote them in, “oh boy, oh boy, this is gonna make ‘em mad!”).

It’s unfortunate, because there is a better film in there somewhere, but ultimately ‘Django Unchained’ is too much; too long, and far too indulgent.

Showing now at Rich Mix cinema, click here for details.

By Nicholas Beer.

Recent Posts


Tags

Joseph Logsdon America John Ridley Patsey Morgan Heritage Zack Snyder Stoker Science Fiction Michael K. Williams Christoph Waltz Brixton Riots freedom Ang Lee 12 Years a Slave CGI Jonah Cherine Anderson free North Madonna Deep South Oscars Dede Gardner Steve McQueen Trevor D Rhone Robots of Brixton Destrehan Saratoga Springs Bryan Batt HBO TV channel 4 interview Superman 150 years ago violence nine Academy Award Louisiana Bill Pohlad Solomon Northup screenwriter black man British epic Jay Huguley 50th Anniversary of Jamaica’s independence Kilburn lynching Elam Forrester Chris Chalk Slaves Sarah Paulson Magnolia 2014 Golden Globes Rich Mix tricked One Love Michael Fassbender Wyclef Jean Paul Giamatti Quvenzhané Wallis Chiwetel Ejiofor 2013 Sundance Film Festival Russell Crowe Scoot McNairy carpenter Bass Cameron Zeigler Ruth Negga Henry Caville Jamie Foxx Bocage Washington violent Sue Eakin Ky-mani Marley Leonardo DiCaprio film Best Picture Paul Dano Django Unchained Sizzla Bob Marley’s son Alfre Woodard Hanging Out Jeremy Kleiner Britney Spears Factory Fifteen Illustrator best motion picture novelist Kelsey Scott Peter Sarsgaard true story Rick Elgood Sly and Robbie drugged memoir Poster long take Best Actor overseer Man of Steel Sean Paul 1853 The Harder They Come Slavery Shaggy Arnon Milchan New Orleans marek tarkowski The Life of Pi Dwight Henry Devyn A. Tyler Taran Killam Michael Fanti Sean Bobbitt freeman Memory Loss Anthony Katagas Benghal Tiger Jamaica Zanzibar Best Director Quentin Tarantino historical The Avengers Christopher Berry Prometheus Brad Pitt Dementia revenge Drama Fantasy Writer walk the line cotton west end pub Idris Elba Felicity Michael Shannon Kibwe Tavares Yvonne Deutschman Robert Redford Bill Camp Hans Zimmer Benedict Cumberbatch Don Letts Hanging Out Project African American Richard Parker Garret Dillahunt Sundance Film Festival Black Friday Bethnal Green Joe Walker United States Rob Steinberg fieldslave Adepero Oduye New York State controversy Bob Marley Regency Enterprises Lupita Nyong'o Frank Langella short film Platt Robot and Frank

Archive

    Business Hubs

    Tuareg Productions LTD
    Hub Space
    Hub Space
    Hub Space
    Hub Space
    Hub Space
    richmix
    saint-martins-college-of-arts-design
    xclusive-touch
    Hub Space
    Hub Space
    Hub Space
    xnew-art-exchange
    kent-creative
    ace-cafe-london
    xclusive-chauffeuring