Django Unchained

Bill I’s Review – 4 out of 5

This is a unique film: quintessential Tarantino with gushing blood, provocative speeches from compelling characters, tongue in cheek humor, homages to spaghetti westerns, and incredible scenes of in your face violence, combined with a revenge fantasy cum morality tale that delves into life during slavery that you won’t see portrayed in too many places in film today or ever. I cringed during the bloody scenes of the worst type of brutality, and my first instinct is to reject such tastelessness, but then I think am I seeing scenes that would have never happened, or was this the unpleasant reality that no one likes to think about happened right here in the US? The current movie, Lincoln, is focused on passing legislation that banned slavery, but it never shows the reality that slavery entails. Django Unchained shows it in a way I’ve never seen. We all know that families were broken up by auctions, but have we internalized the implications of how awful that was? We’ve heard that slaves were treated like chattel, worse than dogs, but seeing it depicted here is something again that I have rarely seen in popular culture. We’ve read about the Uncle Toms, the “house” n***s, the “field” n***s, the “master” who treats his surrogate father who effectively brought him up like a, well, a slave. But watch Samuel L. Jackson’s ultimate Uncle Tom, wielding power over the plantation, watch Leo Dicaprio as the plantation master toying with his “mandingo” wrestlers as he goads them to fight to the death, watch the brutal treatment of the slaves who try to run away…just unforgettable scenes and portrayals. Christoph Waltz, who was terrific in Inglorius Basterds as the Nazi Colonel, is superb here as the cold hearted, sly bounty hunter. Jamie Foxx is a revelation as the newly freed slave who partners with the bounty hunter to find then free his wife, from whom he was forcible separated. I don’t know if any Tarantino film can be considered a serious treatise of an issue such as slavery,  but if you want to watch an engrossing story which depicts the brutality of our not-too-distant past, check out this film.

Bill C’s Review – 4 out of 5

Whether or not to see this movie should be a relatively easy decision.  If you like Tarantino movies you should go.  If you don’t you should stay away at all costs.

As Bill says it has all of the elements of a Tarantino film.  In some ways the violence exceeds some of his earlier films.  There is the usual violence for Tarantino – the over the top shoot outs, explosions, etc and then there’s the slavery inspired violence which unfortunately may not be over the top.

The dialogue is good although not quite as good as Pulp Fiction or Reservoir Dogs.

The movies is very entertaining and despite it’s over 2.5 hour length the movie flies by.  Tarantino gets great performances from Foxx, Waltz, DiCaprio, Jackson and others.  There are also a ton of people making cameos or in smaller roles – Don Johnson, Jonah Hill, Bruce Dern, Franco Nero (from the original ‘Django’ movie), Russ (West Side Story!) and Amber Tamblyn, Tarantino (I love his final scene) and others.

While at times this took a serious look at slavery and how slaves were treated it was also very funny.  At times it reminded me of Blazing Saddles with it’s use of the ‘n’ word and with a scene with the KKK that could easily have been in that movie

For those seeing this movie in Austin you should see it at an Alamo Drafthouse and get their in time to see the pre-show.  It has some clips from some of the films that Tarantino is paying homage to and is also entertaining.  But I’m sure it would take a lot longer to go through all the movies he refers to and it would be interesting to know all that he refers to


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