Django Unchained is the latest film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. It is a 2012 American Spagehtti Western starring Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington and Samuel L. Jackson. The film is set two years before the Civil War in the American South where slavery and all of its demons were the way of the land. It gives the 21st century audience a glimpse into America’s dark past (no pun intended), and adds the style and dramatics Tarantino is known for.
Tarantino knows how to push boundaries of style and language with his movies, but most importantly, with each scene he shoots. The first time we see Django (Jamie Foxx) as he is freed by Dr. Schultz his actions serve more purpose than solely stealing the dead slave driver’s clothes. He does it in a way where the audience is able to see his internal triumph of freedom by throwing off his ratty slave sheet along with decades of oppression and subservience to the white slavers.
Other unique uses of style include the blood spatter onto white cotton fields, disrupting the false balance of slave and owner. Stylized camera zooms and pans draw emphasis on certain characters like Leo DiCaprio’s villainous Calvin Candie breaking the fourth wall.
Django and Dr. Schultz find themselves on Candie’s plantation, Candyland, to rescue Django’s wife, Broomhilda. The beautiful Broomhilda came from German slave owners, which is where her name is derived from. The rest of her derives from slavery where she was beaten and branded. It becomes Danjo’s mission to save her, and Dr. Schultz’s mission to take care of Django,
The film’s style and language is also graphic, pervasive, and even visceral. Django Unchained does a good job at keeping the audience entertained through a good mix of action and humor. The educated and well-versed Dr. Schultz in a land of Southern bumpkins was quite fun to watch and engaging to listen each time he spoke. He reminded me of Obi-Wan Kenobi, who comes out from the shadows to take Luke Skywalker on an adventure across the depths of space in a galaxy far, far away.
Django Unchained is a journey across the Deep South and does not stray from its historical period. Although timeline inaccuracies may occur, the setting and the themes are all too real. The film’s use of violence and the n-word will give the audience a bad taste or a feeling of uncleanliness, and it’s meant to. It is supposed to cross your comfort level and show you how inhumane the times and society truly were. It affects the characters and is a driving force of motivation for both Django and Dr. Schultz throughout the movie. You witness a growth in these men due to the experiences they engage in together.
If you are familiar with Tarantino’s prior work, you know that anything can and will happen. No character is safe. As I said before, he likes to push boundaries and take things over the top. It keeps you on your toes, and reminds you of the realism the film portrays through its stylized take of the past. We stylize our own memories in an attempt to hold on to the past for we lack a grasp on the future, but Django Unchained creates an epic, and certainly entertaining tale of Western heroics with a grisly vision into the reality of what was clung to for generations.
Rating: 5 out of 5 Beards