Pauls Valley, Oklahoma — Though I doubt my open mindedness to entertainment will ever lower quite enough to include Rednecks publicly abusing their daughter behind the veil of beauty pageants, 2013 will continue my efforts to at least expand my catalogue of reviewed material. One director’s work I’ve not included, primarily since I’ve not had other friends interested until now, is that of Quentin Tarantino, a man who seems unafraid to flood his work with raw and uncensored themes.
After viewing, it is understandable why I’ve seen such a divide between love and hate for his style, though I must admit he has a way of keeping one engaged even if some part of you is screaming for it to be over. I can also see why so many are enamored with the unusual way he interprets today’s entry, which I can only surmise is a mish mash of spaghetti western meets pulp fiction and then blown up by a train car of dynamite and blaxploitation. I’m not quite hooked on the best picture bandwagon for “Django Unchained,” but I admit it was fun in its own bizarre way, if for nothing than to give a hint of epic to the popcorn flick.
Set in pre-Civil War 1858, the story starts off in somewhere Texas (must be near that way), where a group of recently purchased slaves are being transported by their new masters the Speck Brothers. Their romp through the woods is cut short when they encounter Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz), a bounty hunter parading around as a dentist and searching for a slave named Django (Jamie Foxx).
After an unfortunate disagreement on making a transaction for Django, things start on the bloodbath path as he teams up with Shultz in exchange for hunting down a couple of targets he can help point out. What could have been a one and done deal for freedom turns into a partnership that grows to a chance to free Django’s wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) from her current master Calvin J. Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio). What follows is a rather well devised way to eat up two hours and 45 minutes and if you can get past enough gore to rival an 80s slasher film, one can easily enjoy the relationship between the lead characters (especially Foxx’s interactions with just about any other personality like Samuel L. Jackson’s portrayal of a slave named Stephen) as well as just enough dark humor to top it off.
As if you haven’t figured it out by now, those easily offended can add this to the list of things that would best be avoided since toes are definitely stomped on. In its own way it addresses social issues many are uncomfortable with even outside slavery from race relations at the time to use of language no age will avoid cringing at.
However, perhaps in the same way “Blazing Saddles” touched nerves, this film has achieved a rare place that may only need one time to achieve its impact. That said, I survived the experience and would at least consider another Tarantino work in the future. As a result, “Django Unchained” has earned a verdict of three out of five bullets.
Movie viewing experience courtesy of the Royal Twin Theater of Pauls Valley.