Django Unchained

Quentin Tarantino may know the meaning of understatement but he certainly doesn't  apply it to his films. The best of Tarantino (Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Inglourious Basterds) are American Grand guignol -- intensely dramatic stories of bullets and blood, buckets and buckets of blood.  His films are often structurally complex and frequently surreal and have drawn Hollywood's finest. Tarantino's latest typically incredible tale, Django Unchained, is the story of a runaway slave Django (Oscar winner Jamie Foxx) who is bought and freed by a German dentist / bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Oscar winner Christoph Waltz) so that Django can lead him to a trio of fugitives hiding on a Mississippi plantation. In the course of their getting acquainted, Django tells Schultz he would like help finding and freeing his wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), who, as luck would have it is at the same plantation. Before they set off, however, Django must learn how to handle a six-shooter and soon displays lightning reflexes and an eagle eye. Django dresses as The Blue Boy and poses as the doctor's valet, while he and Schultz winter out West -- gunning down bad guys without remorse.  When spring arrives, they head south and that is where they encounter Calvin Candie (Leondard DiCaprio) the sadistic (is there any other kind) master of Candieland Plantation (go with it) and his slithering Uncle Tom of a butler Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson). Tarantino stages some terrifically tense and excruciatingly brutal scenes down in Dixie. The entire film is a vulgar and irreverent live action cartoon that has more than a few howlingly funny moments amidst all of the gore (as we've come to expect). Some viewers have raised questions about the use of the n-word in the film and, frankly, I'm amazed that the point has even been raised. The film is set pre-Civil War and so the word seems appropriate. What does seem anachronistic and pointless is the use of M-F by butler Stephen. The effect was way too ghetto for my taste. Highly recommended but it is  an extremely violent affair.


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