“The movie ‘Django Unchained’ has something to offend everyone,” as almost every critic of this dynamite film experience has written and said.
The Quentin Tarantino movie may be the funniest movie ever made for psychotic sadists and us just plain folks. “The Texas Chainsaw” massacre meets the genteel Old South. Add to this that most of the direction and acting is great and in spite of the gore and deafening crack of whiplashes and bullets being fired nonstop, it is beautifully made. And, violence aside, it is wonderful to look at.
And my favorite moment in its comic and unbelievable savagery (it is about the American experience with African slavery) happens near the end when director and screenwriter Tarantino does an explosive acting scene himself. (More! More acting, Quentin, you are a natural.)
You will love our movie idol and idealist leading man Leonardo DiCaprio as an over-the-top “South-run” gentleman of bloody tastes and excessive breeches of conduct, which he carries off with rotting teeth and his unusual horrifying style. (Who can forget this actor’s sweet youthful beginning as Gilbert Grape? And he hasn’t made a career misstep yet.) I just love Leonardo, whom I have never been so fortunate as to meet. He has risen above his contemporaries because he keeps completely to his own self, his private style and minding his own business.
Then there is the Oscar winner from “Inglourious Basterds,” one Christoph Waltz, as a rational, reasonable con man whose humanity is in stark contrast to the rest of the ignorant, benighted characters we encounter. These latter are busy wasting their muscular, expensive male slaves in idiotic “contests” of brawl and strength and casual inhumanity.
And, for instance, the punishment for breaking eggs is severe. And it takes a slave to devise the punishment for another slave. (Samuel L. Jackson is just remarkable in this unusual, unexpected characterization of a “house” slave consumed by his master’s malevolence.)
But it is the incredibly sexy and smart Jamie Foxx as Django who outdoes everything and everyone. He is the young Clint Eastwood, any one of the implacable James Bonds, the sardonic Bruce “Diehard” Willis and the once-adorable Mel “Lethal Weapon” Gibson, plus the ghost of John Wayne, all rolled into one.
Wait for the moment when poor abusive fools are untying Foxx’s hands and he kills them with his bonds still on!
As for the overuse of the N word, I think the average slaveholder before and after the Civil War was too obsessed with gentrified social climbing and pseudo-aristocratic money concerns to have used quite so much vulgarity. But the horrible N word echoes Tarantino’s overuse and overkill of violence, as if they were/are one and the same. Maybe they are.
No matter the serious, horrifying reality of slavery still going on all over the world, “Django Unchained” is a western shoot-’em-up classic of willful hilarity.
And maybe it will make a good impact through its excesses of action and violence that will convince us of its important theme and make its important mark at the Oscars! If you are a true moviegoer, you don’t want to miss it!