‘Django Unchained’ and an Ode to Quentin Tarantino

Last night I finally got to see Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino’s latest piece of cinema genius. I am glad to announce that my anticipation was rewarded in every way.

The less I say about the plot, the better, I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. Although I initially knew the film’s style and premise, I had very little idea what I was going to see. It’s a Tarantino film, so naturally I expected injustice, revenge and retribution. All three are portrayed with brutal, but brilliant artistic vision. Tarantino is a master of his craft; he wrote, directed and had a brief cameo in this superb tale of a wronged man, on his way to put things right.

As far as I know, the film’s historical accuracy is exceptional. Through my literature studies I have gained some knowledge of the slave trade and the treatment of slaves in the southern states of America; so watching certain scenes of violence and degradation in Django made the blood boil, and the heart shrink, and burn with pity and disbelief. I am strangely pleased to say that Tarantino does not shy away from how indecent, barbaric and backwards the slave owners and traders were. In true Tarantino style, these awful bastards are put down with equally monstrous acts of violence.

Considering the film is almost three hours long, there are no pacing problems. The amount of dialogue must’ve been intimidating when the actors first saw their scripts; but it feels like every word is essential to the progress of the plot. Tarantino has a gift with language as well as with the lens. The casting is exceptional. It’s hard to choose a favourite between Jamie Foxx, Samuel L Jackson, Kerry Washington, Leonardo DiCaprio and Christopher Waltz, but I will say that Christopher gets my vote. The man’s charisma is limitless.

As with other Tarantino works, slow-motion and soundtrack play a vital and mesmerising role. His use of both could almost be deemed excessive if he didn’t use them so powerfully; they enhance every heartbeat and blood drop in the audience.

It’s not just Django Unchained that makes Tarantino a genius in my eyes. I can remember exactly how I felt after watching Kill Bill: Volume I for the first time. I put the DVD in and within seconds I knew I’d made the right choice; watching Uma Thurman take revenge on the men and women who had wronged her, was absolutely mesmerising. I appreciate that the brutal slavery depicted in Django Unchained is totally separate and incomparable to the violence in the Kill Bill films; but Tarantino always has his eye fixed on the unfair treatment of the individual. Even if they are highly stylised and dramatic, his films show that if you push a person far enough in to deprivation, they will rise like a phoenix from hell and seek their rightful revenge and retribution. It doesn’t matter if it’s an affair of the heart or a horrific social injustice; his films provide triumph for anyone who ever felt wronged in their lifetime; and that’s why they’ll entertain audiences for years to come.

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