I’m a huge Quentin Tarantino fanboy. Have been since Reservoir Dogs, and I can say with an honest heart that I’ve enjoyed everything he’s directed. Even his shaky 4 Rooms bit. Since Netflix made Django Unchained available on their streaming service, I finally got a chance to catch the auteur’s latest greatest.
I’ve seen a lot of complaints about Tarantino’s antebellum revenge flick. Too many characters use the N-word! The violence is over the top! Historical inaccuracies! The plot is contrived!
To those expressing one or more of those complaints, I say ‘Get over yourself.’
The N-word makes me uncomfortable. It is a nasty word that I avoid speaking and dislike hearing. But if three prominent, smart, and talented African-American actors (Jamie Foxx, Samuel L. Jackson, and Kerry Washington) have no problem appearing in a film that makes heavy use of the N-word, then I’ll roll with it. And your average viewer will go into the movie believing that asshole slaver owners and ranch hands make heavy use of the word, so it should come as no shock to hear it uttered.
The violence in the film underwhelmed me. Perhaps I’ve seen too many torture-porn horror movies, but nothing in Django Unchained even caused me to flinch. The two harshest scenes, the Mandingo fight and the dogs mauling the runaway slave, kept most of the gore off-screen. QT gave us just enough of a glimpse while remaining a respectful distance from the atrocities. The blood squibs in the shootouts are more comical than gory.
The historical inaccuracies added to the film. One can argue that this is not a historical genre movie, but more of a fantasy film based on a world slightly askew from reality. Giving Django sunglasses was a neat effect. Having Stephen say “motherfucker” was accurate because Samuel L. Jackson! The use of dynamite is something you see in many ‘Westerns’ and felt appropriate in this movie.
Finally, the plot to get Broomhilda out of Candy Land…it is needlessly complicated, I agree. But Dr. King Schultz has shown a propensity in the past for unconventional plans (killing the sheriff to get the marshal). He needed to get Django on Candie’s ranch to verify that Broomhilda was the correct person. Besides, Dr. Schultz has panache! 🙂
The film is full of classic Tarantino dialog:
* I like the way you die, boy.
* I’m positive he’s dead.
* Kill white people and get paid for it? What’s not to like?
* The “D” is silent, hillbilly.
* Gentleman, you had my curiosity, but now you have my attention.
* I couldn’t resist.
So the bad guys die. The hero gets his girl. The soundtrack is rocking. Christopher Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson, and Leonardo DiCaprio give A+ performances. The promotional art is fantastic. And Tarantino gives us an entertaining lecture on the horrors of slavery.
What’s not to like?