I read an article about this film that was interesting, but focused on how they thought it was portraying slavery in an unrealistic way, as if it was doing some kind of disservice to history. I’m thinking, “yeah, probably so, if you could take ANY of Quentin Tarantino films as historical fact!” Seriously, if anyone anywhere thinks there is much historical accuracy to Tarantino’s films, then they really don’t know much about Quentin Tarantino and his films.
I read an article about this film that was interesting, but focused on how they thought it was portraying slavery in an unrealistic way, as if it was doing some kind of disservice to history. I’m thinking, “yeah, probably so, if you could take ANY of Quentin Tarantino films as historical fact!” Seriously, if anyone anywhere thinks there is any historical accuracy to Tarantino’s films, then they really don’t know much about Quentin Tarantino and his films. If you’re using his films to teach history to kids in school, or anywhere else for that matter, stop it. You’re doing more damage than good. His films are for entertainment purposes only! He’s not an educator, he’s a film maker. So yeah, don’t get all riled up about how he isn’t portraying slavery correctly in Django Unchained. It’s a spaghetti western revenge film, for cryin’ out loud, not a Histoy Channel documentary.
And it’s done just as fans of Tarantino would expect: bloody. A slave named Django is liberated by a German doctor/bounty hunter. He teaches Django the tricks of the bounty hunting trade and helps him find his wife from a wealthy plantation owner.
Everybody in this seems to be having a good time. Jamie Foxx is great as Django, and his transformation from slave to bounty hunter is well paced. Christoph Waltz plays Dr. King Schultz who mentors Django in the ways of bounty hunting. Clearly Tarantino enjoys working with him, and for good reason. He’s fun to watch here. But perhaps even more fun to watch, and certainly more fun to hate, is Leonardo DiCaprio as Calvin Candie, the plantation owner that is in possession of Django’s wife, Broomhilda (a fine Kerry Washington). His character is indeed a horrible person, but he plays him with so much charm, slimey as it might be, that you can see how the morally challenged could like him.
Django Unchained runs nearly three hours, but I admit to never finding myself bored like I was with Death Proof. And Quentin uses all the great touches; like using titles reminiscent of the spaghetti westerns of the ’60’s, and filling the soundtrack with retro-sounding songs totally apropos of that era and genre of film. And of course, every gunshot pracically explodes in a wash of blood red. Every time someone gets shot, even in the leg, it’s like a little red liquid bomb goes off. Yep, every shot is delightfully over-the-top bloody. So, this film is still not for the weak of heart. Especially for that and for those that are made uncomfortable with the “N” word. “Ni–er” is thrown around as if it were common place to say in the 1850’s – ok, it may have been at the time, but just so you know, you’re going to hear it a LOT in this film. As you can see, I’m not even crazy about typing it. I said it once when I was, oh, 10 or 12, because I heard a kid say it in school and my mom almost took my head off. She made her point. But it’s clear in this film that it has relevance and they don’t shy away from its’ use.
I actually rather enjoyed Django Unchained. The action sequences are pure Tarantino, full of slow-motion gun play and cool western vengeance. There’s also some of his trademark humor and a great cast. And the end? Yep, it’s a satisfying revenge film. This is pretty close to a four kittenhand film. Is it Oscar worthy? I don’t know that I’d go that far. Aparently the Academy thought so, but I’m betting there’s another film that could have taken it’s place instead. But that’s the Academy for ya.
~ Neil T.Weakley, your average movie-goer, trying to catch up with so much film!