Director Antoine Fuqua’s new take on 1960s hit western The Magnificent Seven has provoked debate about the film’s intentions.
Is it a swipe at US presidential candidate Donald Trump? Is it a statement about racism or the lack of diversity in Hollywood?
No black actors were nominated for Oscars this year, the second year in a row. So the cast of black, white, Asian, Mexican and Native American actors is refreshing.
In Fuqua’s version Sam Chisholm (Denzel Washington) leads seven hired gunslingers to defend a small town against vicious industrialist Bartholomew Bogue. He wants to drive them out and destroy their village for the gold under their homes.
Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett) is a stronger female lead than is usual in westerns. She shoots the bad guys as well as any of the men and plays a leading role in organising against Bogue.
But an unnecessary “damsel in distress” moment undermines this.
Early in the film, before his thugs murder people and torch buildings, Bogue tells the town, “With democracy comes capitalism. With capitalism comes god. You are standing in the way of god.” It’s not too far-fetched to imagine at least these themes, if not the line, being bellowed out at a Trump rally.
But Bogue represents the tyranny of the rich in general, according to Fuqua, stealing people’s money and pillaging the earth and its resources.
If you like westerns this has all the belt buckle close ups and sweeping canyon shots you’ll probably enjoy.
Yet it’s often slow, hackneyed and all in, pretty boring—even with the epic shoot-out. You might want to spend your money on something else.
Eastern Europeans in Brexitland
Writer and journalist Gary Younge meets eastern Europeans who live in Britain.
He explores the impact of the Brexit vote and considers how the vote and their experiences fit into the history of race and migration in Britain.
In this first of two programmes available, Gary talks to Poles and Romanians in Bristol, an area that voted Remain and which has a longstanding eastern European population.
An evening with Pegger Seeger and special guest Sam Gleaves
Peggy Seeger is a genuine “icon” in an age where the term is often overused.
In her 80s she delivers a vibrant evening of songs new, old and traditional on a multitude of instruments, coupled with sharp, witty chat about her life.