I just saw Django Unchained and Quentin Tarantino did not disappoint.
There was generous use of gratuitous violence, gore, and the n-word. If you can’t stand gratuitous violence, gore, and the n-word, this movie is not for you. If you want a serious and historically accurate depiction of slavery, this movie is not for you. I doubt such a horrendous event as slavery can be satisfactorily treated in movie form. If you are looking for serious education on slavery, I suggest you take a class or read a book. Prior education on slavery will make your viewing experience of Django Unchained more informed. That being said, I did find Tarantino’s depictions of the brutality of slave-masters eerily close to reality. From whippings to hot iron branding, there were many shockingly evil moments in this movie to make me squirm in my seat.
If the notion of a slave who kills slave-masters and blows up plantations to exact revenge and rescue his wife makes you uncomfortable, this movie is most definitely not for you. This is a vengeance film where a slave kills and blows up slave-masters.
Django Unchained is not all violence and gore. It is also a story of black love. I call it “iridescent black love”. Tarantino’s treatment of the love between Django (Jamie Foxx) and Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) could be developed into a whole movie on its own. The film treatment of Django and Broomhilda’s love story creates a beautiful cinematic experience which can be removed from the violent universe of Django Unchained. Yet, the romantic love between Django and Broomhilda – two of the main characters is a central part of the narrative. Django is literally the black knight in shining armor. He would go through hell and back to rescue his queen.
The genius of the script writers and the director becomes self evident when Django effortlessly transitions from being Dr Schultz’s (Christoph Waltz) sidekick to being the hero of the movie. Dr Schultz is a bounty hunter who “buys” Django from his original owners and strikes a deal with him that ultimately makes Django a free man. Dr. Schultz is no white-savior character. He is Django’s mentor and business associate. Let this suffice! To explain further how Django emerges a hero instead of being just a sidekick is to give the whole plot away.
Oscar judges have a dilemma on their hands. In my opinion, Leonardo Di Caprio, Samuel Jackson, Kerry Washington, Jamie Foxx, and Chritoph Waltz all give Oscar worthy performances in Django Unchained.
Between Leonardo Di Caprio and Samuel Jackson’s characters, I can’t decide the true villain. Their characters outshine each other in pure evil. Kerry Washington’s character is a delicate and beautiful black flower in a world of violence and gore. She gets repeatedly stained yet retains a certain iridescent quality. Jamie Foxx’s character is the quintessential hero who shoots his way back to love. As much as Jamie Foxx’s character is a knight in shining armor, Kerry Washington’s character is no damsel in distress. Christoph Waltz’s character is the most intriguing character in my opinion. His character undergoes a subtle yet dramatic shift during the movie.
I recommend Django Unchained. It is highly entertaining and could possibly be cathartic despite the unrestrained use of violence and gore. Judging by the packed theater and the sustained applause at the end of the movie, Quentin Tarantino managed to entertain his audience with his treatment of slavery.