Movie Review: Django Unchained – Kicking Slavery in the guts!
The king of Genre-Filmmaking, Tarantino, is back with his latest after a 3 year hiatus. With “Inglorious Basterds” he rewrote history, literally and made millions of fans curious on what he was going to do next. So when he took up the issue of Black-Slavery in the US, you knew it was going to be brutal and gut wrenching.
Django Unchained is a brutal film, through and through. Tarantino has been criticised before for using the notorious “N-word” in his films, but this time there has been a bigger controversy because the same word has been used more than 100 times! Now, he could have avoided it in his earlier films, but this time around it’s a little different. Let’s delve into the plot to know why. The film is set in the slavery era. Django (Jamie Fox) is a slave, whose wife has been sold off to someone else. He is a very strong young man, but the system has defeated him. As a slave, he cannot revolt, so he is leading a miserable life. But out of this darkness, comes a light – literally. Dr.King Shultz (Christoph Waltz) rescues him from his misery and buys his freedom. Dr.Shultz is a dentist academically, and is a bounty hunter by profession! He rescues Django because he is chasing 3 outlaws, whom only Django can recognize.
From then on starts their journey together in search of outlaws and Django’s wife. Dr.Shultz abhors slavery and treats Django as equal. But the very notion of a black man riding a horse and living like an equal is detested across the lands. Wherever they go, white men spit and curse Django. But his mission is to rescue his wife and for that he is willing to do anything, even pose as a black slaver (the lowest of low human beings who enslave their own kind) in front of Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) who owns his wife!
Are they able to rescue his wife, from the cruel slaver Candie? Now, for that you would have to watch this film. But beware, it’s not for the faint hearted. The action is brutal, with human flesh, blood and guts spilling all over the screen. Black slaves are treated worse than dogs and white men full of hatred spit at their slaves with utter contempt. And we come back to the N-word, that has been used as liberally as those times. Now, many might think it’s an over-kill, but I believe Tarantino knows no other way. He kicks you where it hurts most and makes you root for the enslaved. He doesn’t take up issues and make a subtle message oriented film out of it. He takes issues, shoves it in your face, makes you look at it in all its glory and then destroys it for your entertainment ( e.g. Killing Hitler in Inglorious Basterds) By the end of it, you want Jamie Fox to kill the hell out of the white men and you feel vindicated when he does.
As a western film, it’s quite easily a classic. Even the opening credits are done in a traditional western fashion. The background score is amazing (a trademark of Tarantino) and the screenplay brisk. Though it’s a 2 hour 45 minute film, you are entertained throughout, especially because Tarantino has a knack of creating memorable moments through amazing scenes in a film. Every major scene has a sprinkling of comedy, even if its action! The dialogues are sharp, engrossing and entertaining, the characters spellbinding. Be it Dr.Shultz or Calvin Candie, you start living the characters, start feeling the contempt or the love for them. Another major character is played by Samuel L.Jackson, who is the head slave at Mr.Candie’s estate. He is a black slaver himself and is plays a very vital part in Candie’s cruel ways.
Though there are certain creative liberties taken by Tarantino (plot holes), they are mostly irrelevant. What’s relevant is the issue that Tarantino holds by the scruff of its neck and rips it like a vicious lion! And for that alone, this movie is worth every buck you spend. Unfortunately, the film will release in India only in March, but it’s worth the wait. Until then it might have won a couple of Baftas or an Oscar. Amen.
A hopeless FILMantic, a sit-down comic, a cereal killer, chicken lover, who Copys for a living, really!
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