Wednesday – Django Unchained
Django Unchained (2012) is a film I should have seen a long time ago. This Western film is set in the American South and follows the story of Django, a slave who is freed by Bounty Hunter Dr King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) to find some wanted men, and the two soon become good friends. Tarantino’s film is worth the whole 2 and a half hours, he depicts the times of slavery with no sugar-coating and gives us this new heroic character of Django who is fighting to alongside Schultz to free his wife.
The plot of the film is perfect, and complimented with the soundtrack and careful editing and mise-en-scene it is impossible to get bored. The main song for the soundtrack being Django’s theme-song, which is catchy and Westernised but I also thought that the use of John Legend on the soundtrack made it more modernised along with the modern way that the film had been made.
Jamie Foxx is perfect for the role of Django, adding the right amount of comedy and to the character, alongside Leonardo DiCaprio with his effortless performance as the owner of ‘Candyland’ a huge plantation, with Samuel L. Jackson playing his house slave Stephen, a hated character with the humour of Samuel shining through. This is an amazing film which I could watch 10 times over and still enjoy, and I really shouldn’t have waited this long to watch it.
Tuesday – Moonlight
After watching the Oscars and seeing Moonlight snatch the Best Picture award from La La Land, a huge Hollywood musical success I knew that I needed to see it for myself. This film is genuinely the first of its own, a deeply sad and thought-provoking film about a young black boy dealing with his sexuality in a way that I’ve never seen before. Every element of the film is well thought-through and artistic. The soundtrack works perfectly with the strings complimenting the scenes of his childhood to adolescence and from the outset and throughout I felt embellished into his story. Mahershala Ali’s character plays Chiron’s guardian throughout his younger years leading to the beautiful scene in the ocean where he teaches him how to swim. Janelle Monáe also features in the film playing Mahershala’s girlfriend, again showcasing her acting abilities.
The artistic elements were also shown in the fact that the film was split into 3 parts: Little, Chiron and Black, with 3 different actors doing an amazing job at maintaining the personality of Chiron through his life stages. Interestingly, the 3 actors didn’t actually meet until the film was finished allowing each of them to portray Chiron as their own. Also one of my favourite things I found out after watching the film is that they are all part of the new Calvin Klein campaign. I highly recommend watching this film, not just for the storyline but for all of the artistic elements and effort that has been put in.
With Black History Month ending at such a high from the amazing Oscar results I wanted to celebrate black film myself by watching a film a day for a week which either celebrates black history or has a black director.
I started on a highly anticipated film this year with great reviews and a great story…
Monday – Hidden Figures
Hidden Figures released this February reveals the story of Katherine G. Johnson (played by Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (played by Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (played by Janelle Monáe), three unbelievable smart women who worked for NASA in the 60’s.
The film shows their struggle with equality in the workplace during the times of segregation and how these amazing women are able to work past this and overcome almost every obstacle they face. One of the most memorable scenes that I have also seen trending on Twitter is Taraji’s speech when after she is confronted for taking a 40 minute break when she was actually travelling to use the ‘coloured’ bathroom.
All three of the women in the film are inspirational and this was also the first film I had seen Janelle Monáe act in and after listening to her music it is clear she is a triple threat with her music also featuring on the soundtrack. The love story with Mahershala Ali’s character Jim Johnson compliments the film keeping a light-hearted tone throughout, however maintaining its clear message, if you believe you can achieve. Visually the film is perfect with the 60s flair of colour coming through the scenes of the women together and in scenes with family, also the use of Pharrell on the soundtrack I found really effective, with the most memorable song being ‘Runnin’ as its used in the comedic scenes of Katherine running to the bathroom.
The happy ending was what really moved me when the real pictures of the women and what they achieved were shown. Hidden Figures is well deserving of its multitude of Awards and is definitely going down as one of my favourites.