Director: Quentin Tarantino
Major Actors: Jamie Foxx, Chirstoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Samuel L. Jackson
IMDb rating: 9/10 (click for page)
I guess its safe to say that I am a fanboy of Tarantino. He is not one of my favorite directors but I never want to miss seeing one of his films. They are guaranteed to be one of most clever films of the year and one of the most enjoyable. Django Unchained did not disappoint. It was a Tarantino film. The first thing I liked about Django was, it was an ode back to the spaghetti westerns, which are my favorite westerns. It had everything the music, punch lines, grittiness (a little more), the close ups, and Tarantino even put some of the old actors in the film. Enough of me salivating over spaghetti westerns. As usual Tarantino is able to transcend the crappiness of a typical film from a certain genre.
The first thing that stands out is the performances. I have never been a huge fan of Jamie Foxx but from time to time he pulls out a stellar performance. This is one of those times. Foxx is able to portray perfectly the salve that is out for revenge(more on this later). The other performance is by Christoph Waltz. Unlike Foxx, I have been a huge Waltz fan since Inglorious Bastards. So it does not surprise me in the least that he was amazing. This time he plays the bounty hunter who is against slavery, a little different from playing a Nazi. There are other great performances like DiCaprio and the Samuel L. Jackson. Jonah Hill even has a great cameo.
I cannot talk about this film without talking about the controversy surrounding the film. This is no surprise if you have seen other Tarantino films. Its what he does. The controversy centers around how he portrays slavery, which is touchy subject for most people. What is angering most people is the stereotypes of the vengeful salve(Foxx) and the house salve(Jackson). What upsets them is that it seems to suggest that there is only one salve who got vengence. And that house salves were always for the master. Here is my two cents. I believe Tarantino puts these stereotypes in front of us and cause us to talk and examine about them. I may be giving Tarantino to much credit but I don’t think he trying to say this all salves behaved.
There is one thing that was disturbing to see but needed to be shown and that is the violence done to the salves This is shown specifically in the scene of dogs ripping apart a man who had escaped (I have tears in my eyes just writing this). Not much is shown just flashes of images mixed with sounds. This is very grotesque scene but it is a good reminder of what happened during slavery. It also makes me think of what we do to men’s souls everyday. One final note of the violence within the film. Tarantino has gotten more upfront with violence and gore, which is no surprise. But just like every other Tarantino film the violence is not what drives the film but the dialogue. And this is what makes him one of the great directors of today.
All in all this was one of the most enjoyable films of the year mixed with a little controversy. I have more to say but I will let you go see the film.