Self-confessed film lover Quentin Tarantino is no stranger to controversy, but his latest work, homage mashup Django Unchained, seems to have escalated into one of the most contentious films of the last decade.
Is it racist? Is it overly violent? Is it necessary? Or is it just good entertainment? The safest thing anyone can say about Django Unchained is that it’s the boldest and most courageous picture of 2012/2013. Tarantino eloquently tips his hat to the black exploitation movies of the 70s by delivering a riveting revenge fantasy flick about the hardships of slavery, America’s great sin. What comes out is a violent, funny, fast and brutal spaghetti-Western parable about the evil of prejudice.
Gentlemen, you had my curiosity. But now, you have my attention. – Calvin Candie
If there is one thing that can be said about the former video store clerk, it’s that he is sublime at mashing up genre flicks and using them to convey a serious message in a non-serious manner. Django Unchained, his most flamboyant offering to date, is the perfect example of this unique talent. Like Kill Bill, Tarantino measures up slavery with cartoonish violence, fairytale lore, cheeky dialogue, outlandish characters, and still manages to challenge audiences both in and out of the theatre. Everything is meant to be taken with a pinch of salt, of course. This is Tarantino doing a live-action graphic novel set in the west.
You silver-tongued Devil you. – Dr. King Schultz
Set before the American Civil War, hot on the trail of three killers (The Brittle Brothers), Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz), a German dentist-turned-bounty-hunter, finds a shackled Django (Jamie Foxx), cold, bitter and covered in rags. He is being escorted across the deserted Texas road by a group of slave traders. When the eccentric gun slinging doctor offers to purchase Django for a fair price, however, things get out of hand, leaving one dead and another trapped underneath his horse. Shultz then offers Django his freedom in exchange for his help in tracking down his bounty. The odd-pair set off into the darkness, taking on a number of bounties across the country over the winter period. Along the journey they discover the KKK, kill a sheriff, search for Django’s estranged wife, Broomhilda, and become the stuff of legend.
Them old boys done rode a lot of miles, went through a lot of trouble, just to get that girl. – Stephen
Django Unchained’s quirky filter-free history lesson is a gamble that pays off handsomely. It’s backed with in-your-face entertainment (some risky and possibly offensive) that is bound to please fans. Amid the mayhem of explosions, gun fights, surly conversations and gore, Tarantino manages to show off his flair for great cinematography. Snowy Mountains, fiery sunsets and beautiful cotton fields light up the backdrops while the actors give some of their most memorable performances to date.
The dignified Jamie Foxx has never looked this badass before. Nor has Leonardo DiCaprio for that matter. In fact, it would be fair to say that the entire cast (an ensemble of folks like Don Johnson, Jonah Hill, Walton Goggins and Samuel L. Jackson) are nothing short of mesmerizing.
I’m curious as to what makes you so curious. – Django Freeman
Django Unchained fits in perfectly right next to Inglourious Basterds. They’re essentially cut from the same cloth, the same idea, with the same purpose and vision in mind – pure popcorn entertainment. You’ll be hard pressed to find another director who can match the skill for storytelling and the boldness of Quentin Tarantino. This is a must-see for fans.