Directed by the infamous Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained is the new flick that is causing a bit of controversy. Due to several mentions of the “N” word, (when I say several, I mean the word was used at least 30 times throughout the movie), Django Unchained has been under scrutiny amongst many Americans. However, it is the nature of the director and should be expected after his previous films such as Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill and Inglorious Basterds.
Django Unchained is set in America’s Deep South before the Civil War. We meet Django, a slave played by Jamie Foxx, as he is being transferred to new owners along with a few other slaves. The group is approached by a German immigrant dentist named Dr. King Shultz, played by Christoph Waltz, who wishes to purchase Django. Soon it is discovered that Dr. Shultz is a bounty hunter who needs the help of Django to hunt down a trio of killers working for a plantation owner whom Django was previously owned by. With this, the bounty hunter team of Django and Dr. Shultz set out as a team. Throughout the movie, Django is introduced by Dr. Shultz to everyone they come across as a free man. Everyone Django meets along the way is almost in a state of shock, especially when seeing a black man ride a horse.
When Calvin Candie, a semi-charming plantation owner played by Leonardo DiCaprio, is confirmed as the owner of Broomhilda, (Kerry Washington), who is Django’s wife, the team set out to rescue her. Candie’s plantation, known as Candyland, is used for male slaves to participate in “Mandingo fighting” where they are forced to fight to the death. Candyland is also where we meet Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson), a house slave who has just as much contempt for his own kind as the white folks do.
The Quentin Tarantino that I know and love is definitely alive and well in this film, in all of its gore mixed with a healthy dose of comedy. With each shot of a gun or slash of a knife, the blood spews from the victim like rain. Toward the end, a gunfight erupts at Candyland, where the blood literally rains down everywhere, covering every inch of the house. With each encounter Django and Dr. Shultz have with others, there is a comedic approach to the harsh situation that mixes very well with the gore and drama. Some of the acting is a tad bit overacted, but this is part of Tarantino’s genius. Foxx, Waltz and DiCaprio are the top actors of the movie, in my book.
Despite all of the recent criticisms, Django Unchained creates a valid image of how slaves were treated in those days. The film is certainly not for the weak stomached, but if you are a Tarantino fanatic like me, you are sure to be pleased with his ingenious direction. Two thumbs up, five stars or however you want to put it. Way to go, Mr. Tarantino.