An Indonesian martial arts fest that is skull-splinteringly violent, uncompromisingly intense and simply brilliant. The fight scenes are visually sublime, and the actors fulfil their roles superbly. The leading man is Iko Uwais who tops the list of martial arts heroes and is directed by the Welsh film-maker Gareth Huw Evans, who keeps a 10-tonne weight positioned on the accelerator from start to finish. In Enter the Dragon, Bruce Lee famously says: “We need emotional content, not anger.” But frankly there seems to be an awful lot of anger here and its brilliant. I can’t believe that the filming ended without some pretty serious hospitalisation for everyone concerned. There really aren’t many films that will have you holding clenched fists to the corners of your mouth for over an hour and a half. I was forever bleating the two clipped monosyllables of shock: “Ohhhsh … ” and “Ohhhhf …”. Totally Freaking Awesome!
12 Years a Slave & Django Unchained are Oscar winners, but which did you prefer?
I preferred Django Unchained to 12 years a slave, no contest. I’m one of those people who doesn’t think many films made in Hollywood deserve much intellectual merit. The depiction of slavery was accurate yes, and I’ve read enough about slavery to grasp that. Roots, Confessions of Nat Turner, and Beloved are all good reads. But to hear Nigger…this and Nigger that, watch horrid torturous scenes, seeing little black children treated like animals, (and once again), black women raped was demoralising. I kept imagining it was me getting whipped, beaten, shackled and spat on and it was a surreal feeling. Thanks Steve McQueen, your doing a wonderful job representing your own race.