Thursday, July 4, 2013

3 Short Paragraphs: Django Unchained

2012, QuentinTarantino (seriously?) -- download

That Tarantino has not yet done a spaghetti western is an odd statement. Go ahead, search through IMDB; you won't find one. Tarantino is the re-imaginer of period genre pieces, no not the current use of genre in reference to horror, scifi or fantasy, but those flicks where you can say you saw a gangster movie, a war movie or a kung-fu movie. These staples of saturday afternoon cinemas or late night TV are his bread & butter. That he did not do my favourite of the ilk is astounding.  So, here we go, Tarantino does a civil war era revenge western with Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson.  Oh, let's not forget Kerry Washington whom I believe is one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood at the moment, though, as I am wont to say, she could have eaten a few more sandwiches.

Jamie Foxx is Django (silent D) but, to me, this movie was all about Waltz as Dr. King Schulz. Sure, it's Foxx's vehicle and namesake but really, its all about the dialogue coming forth from the educated dentist now bounty hunter. This is a man of very defined, very not North American values. He completely understands where slavery fits into the economics and culture of the America he is visiting. But he doesn't care and will not have any of it. So, he buys him, frees him and takes Django under his wing, teaches him all about hunting men and promises to help Django get back his wife Broomhilda.

I cannot overlook the supporting roles of Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson. DiCaprio is Candie, the oh so friendly and likable plantation owner obsessed with bare-fisted fighting and the psychology of the black man, or as his shallow intellectual mind sees it. Jackson is his aged man servant, Stephen, and the real power behind Candieland. Candie is just someone you expect to fail while Stephen is someone you desperately want to just fucking die. He is evil, downright nasty, holding onto his place of power in a world where it won't really let him have any. That he can shift between the mewling old slave into the brandy appreciating miscreant is a sly grin. Jackson is perfect.  It is through them that the ultra-violence, one of the signatures of a Tarantino movie, is ignited. Candie lights the fuse under Django but Stephen is the dynamite, quite literally and he goes out with a bang.  Rim shot.

Kent's more indept review.  Poster by Mike Butkus.