Django Unchained (2012)

In the world of film there seems to be one man who divides opinion more than any other: Quentin Tarantino. I’m not entirely sure I understand the argument, but that’s probably because I think he’s brilliant. The controversy which surrounds him doesn’t bother me at all: his films are violent, yes; is this a problem, no. I can’t really see why people allow themselves to become hung up on something like this. If you only focus upon one aspect then you’re allowing the blood-soaked wool to cover your eyes, and you’re missing out on some of the best films of the last two decades.

Django has been no different. At the time of its release I remember hearing of the incessant use of the word Nigger. I was genuinely amazed by this: do people think that racist terms were  used sparingly in the 1860s? You cannot make a film like this without using such phrases. It would be inaccurate and disrespectful to the memory of those who had to live with such abuse.

Similarly, I was not bothered by the violence, which some describe as gratuitous: some of it is, admittedly, fairly over-the-top and I can see why it might bother people; but what you have to remember is this is Tarantino’s take on a particular style of film. I am often surprised by how many people don’t pick up on this. I’ve heard Inglorious Basterds branded as ridiculous because of the ending: this is a jibe at the inaccuracy of war films, not Tarantino looking for an excuse to burn Hitler alive.

The same point can be argued with the violence in Django. It is paying homage to Westerns, which, if I remember correctly, aren’t exactly clean. Even in the more innocent outings, violence is implied. Do we really think that only one of the hundred or so rifles at the end of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid open fires? No; it would have been an absolute massacre. And this is the difference, Tarantino shows the violence, and as a film maker that is his choice. If you don’t like it, don’t watch it, and please don’t leap on the self-righteous high-horse. If you do, not only are you highly irritating, but you are also missing out on one of the best films of the last few years. Django is brilliant. It’s so good that my dad and one my neighbour’s, neither of whom are known for their love of film, both enjoyed it immensely. If you knew them, you’d know what a big deal that is. As it is, you don’t, so I must carry on.

The script is great: Christoph Waltz is fantastic, Jamie Foxx ideal, Leonardo DiCaprio hateful and Samuel L Jackson grotesque. The pure simplicity of the story allows for a great mixture of disgust, entertainment and comedy. I will even go out on a limb and say that overall I prefer it to Pulp Fiction. Which I know is tantamount to sacrilege, but I believe has its flaws. Pulp Fiction is certainly the more important film, but I’m not a fan of the date-scene with John Travolta and Uma Thurman, or the basement-rape of Marcellus Wallace. It’s only Samuel L Jackson that really stays with you, him and Christopher Walken’s watch of course.

You may disagree with me, but I would say that Django is Tarantino’s best offering to date. It’s not one of the best films of all time, but it’s one of my favourites.

2 thoughts on “Django Unchained (2012)

  1. Pingback: The Revenant (2015) Does Leo Deserve an Oscar? | Kieran Lyne

  2. Pingback: The Oscars 2016: A Lay O Lay O Lay O Lay, Leo, Leo | Kieran Lyne

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