Django Unchained

That's classy right?
"Django is off the chain"

Hello everyone and welcome to a new year at The Tagline! I had the first day of the new year to myself and so decided to spend it the way I've spent so many other afternoons: at the movies. I decided to take in Django Unchained, the Quentin Tarantino's latest entry into the explosively gratuitously violent movie genre (okay so it's not a genre, but it is the kind of movie that he makes all the time). Django Unchained follows the exploits of a somewhat eccentric bounty hunter named King Shultz (Christoph Waltz, switching sides to bat for the good guys since he last appeared in a Tarantino flick, Inglorious Basterds), who frees the slave Django (Jamie Foxx, who you might remember I mentioned in my rundown of Tom Cruise movies, he was portrayed the protagonist in Collateral) to help him run down a bounty he is after, because Django knows what the criminals look like (from when they tortured and whipped him and his wife).After some shooting and dead bodies, Shultz and Django take out his target, and King proposes that Django stick with him and work as a bounty hunter. In return, King offers to help Django track down and purchase the freedom of his wife Brunhilde (evidently she was owned by Germans originally). 

Don Jonson as Colonel Sanders.
Django and Shultz track her down to the property of Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) a prominent slave owner who is known for his slave fighter holdings (slave owners fight two slaves to the death like dogs, I didn't even know this was a thing, and was promptly mortified at the depths of human depravity). Shultz and Django infiltrate Candie's plantation (which he calls Candie Land how awful is that) and things proceed from there about how you're probably imagining. Strong words are exchanged, guns come out, and blood starts gushing. When I say gushing I mean it too, as anyone who has seen a Tarantino film before is no doubt aware. People get shot repeatedly, but no matter how many times they get hit they always seem to have more blood to spray, which is thoughtful of them I guess. 

Insert Inception joke here?
Django was, like Inglorious Basterds before it, one of my favorite Tarantino movies to date. It's campy without being silly, still managing to squeeze in serious notes edgewise along with clever quips to keep things from being too serious. The music is a mash-up of western fare with smatterings of... hip hop I guess? Rap? I get the two confused, the point is that the music fits the tone of the movie very well, and accompanies the action splendidly. Despite being a pretty long movie too (it's a little bit shy of being three solid hours, I was surprised when the movie just sort of... kept going) it was really well paced, so I didn't notice until I checked the time towards the end that I'd been in the theater for creeping up on three hours. This is unlike say, The Hobbit, (I know it's a totally different kind of movie bear with me) which was of similar length, but dragged in places.The centerpiece of the movie though is clearly the exploding buckets full of violence. I feel like, as he has grown as a director though that Tarantino's special brand of excessive violence has come to be less random and more meaningful in later movies. Sure it's still over the top and indulgent, but the targets that this violence is turned on in Django (and Inglorious Basterds also fits this mold) are so very deserving of it, that the amount and type of violence being perpetrated is just satisfyingly cathartic.

Sam Jackson as Old Racist Helper Slave.
 Who doesn't want to watch a movie where Hitler literally has his face shot off in a burning building with all his best Nazi friends? The same logic works here. You are presented in the first and second acts of the movie with the worst sorts of racists, slave mongers and violent maniacs that you could ever hope not to see, everything that was wrong with our nation under the damning influence of slavery. The movie spends its most of its length showing us just how awful a bunch of bastards these guys are. Then, just when you feel like you can't stand another second of them living; it kills them... a lot. I think that there is something understandably satisfying about a movie where for once bad people get the bad end they have coming to them. It might be a petty or childish desire, but there is like I said, a cathartic relief you feel watching the worst faces of humanity get shot off in a hail of blood and gunfire. 

Critical reception so far has been positive, and I don't see any negative reviews coming around the mountain. If you don't like movies full of profanity and violence, then I would suggest seeing a different movie. Otherwise go see Django Unchained, you will enjoy it. I'll see you later guys! With I know not what.

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