Thursday, December 27, 2012


I loved Django Unchained - my favorite film by Quentin Tarantino since Pulp Fiction. It is a "genre" film - as he has described his movies in a recent interview - this time taking the Italian Spaghetti Western and setting it in the South in 1858 - two years before the Civil War complete with music that is quirky and wide ranging including James Brown, Johnny Cash and the composer Ennio Morricone (he was the composer of many of those original Italian Westerns directed by Sergio Leone such as The Good The Bad and The Ugly and Once Upon A Time in America.)

This movie views slave culture as seen through the eyes of an "unchained" free-man Django and the man who "buys his freedom" and becomes his "partner" a German-born bounty hunter. The two are a terrific team. This movie gives us an un-expurgated brutal vision of overweening racism, the slaves and the plantation slave owners as well as a look into the hierarchy of slave society and their roles vis-a-vis their Masters. 

Employing the bitterly ironic humor, theatrical violence and over-the-top Tarantino style, the dialogue is often humorous and campy but deadly serious and always refreshingly original. This is very much a tale of revenge and of a love which will not be erased by horrific obstacles. It is beautifully acted by Jamie Foxx as a soft-voiced, never distracted from his mission Django ("The D is silent",) Leonardo di Caprio - the heinous slave owner, Samuel L. Jackson as the wily House slave who helped raise Di Caprio and is his advisor, and the sophisticated might-be considered a scoundrel German Christoph Waltz who tells Django the story of Brunhilda and Siefried cementing our hero's determination to fulfill his quest in spite of the most dire circumstances.

This movie is filled with choreographed violence - literal blood baths but the history of slavery was one of power and raging cruelty so it all fits together.

Great discussion on Django on NPR with Michel Martin and her weekly group called The Barbershop. Start listening to Podcast at 8:19 sec.

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