This Is Not A Film Review: Django Unchained

Posted on 6 February 2013

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The D is silent

If you’re wondering whether you should this film, the answer is ‘yes, but brace yourself’. 

Tarantino uses everything he’s got to smash into your brain how fucking horrifying slavery is and how disgusting people can be.

Now, violence in films bothers me (unless it’s a cheesy action film) so I’m not exactly a Tarantino aficionado (the only other film of his I’ve seen is Pulp Fiction and that wasn’t until it was ten years old), but the violence in this film is part of what makes it work. It is necessary. You’re seeing a film about a world where people owned other people. It was legal and accepted that people could be tortured to death, forced to kill each other, and told who to have children with. What the fuck do you think it was like?

Colonel Johnson

Don Johnson as ‘Big Daddy’, a plantation owner who makes you queasy.

That rant aside, at one point I was thinking ‘If Tarantino pushes any more of my buttons with this gruesomeness, I’m going to have to leave.’ I’ve never walked out of a movie but I really felt like I couldn’t take any more. Of course, that was the moment he swung it back around and screamed full-tilt downhill for the whole third act.

Lowlights

It’s super sexist. All the female characters are deeply boring. The central woman is merely a prize for supercool cowboy guy to win. SIGH. GRRR.

Highlights

Ato Essandoh who plays a runaway slave named d’Artagnan might just have my vote for most moving performance by anyone ever. And it goes for about three minutes at most. Of all the moments in this film that made me tear up (for sadness, revulsion, fear, horror, joy), the sight of a human so profoundly broken he’s barely alive hurt more than any of them, even more than what followed.

Jamie Foxx. That man has reinvented charisma.

Samuel L Jackson is funny, cartoonish, ghoulish.

Leonardo DiCaprio. Frightening. Charming. Foul.

Christoph Waltz. His character is delightful and he plays it with glee. I love his accent. He has the best vocabulary.

Additional Thoughts

Vengeful-vigilante-ex-slave-supercool-cowboy-guy should be a well-established archetype.

Goddamn I love watching actors and directors work.

I should really watch Inglourious Basterds.

Slavery is horrifying.

I’m not a film buff or expert of anything, so if you are, I’d love to hear what think.

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Posted in: Film