Sunday, January 13, 2013
3 Thoughts on Django Unchained
1. It is incredibly uncomfortable to sit through- I'm not going to lie, it's a hard movie to watch. The language is hard to hear, the violence and brutality is hard to witness. Yet, as the movie progressed, I found myself flinching less - the unapologetic excessiveness of both the language and the violence, creates a desensitization of sorts (which is ultimately problematic). In regards to the many debates that surround the film, I don't think it is fair to say that a white director shouldn't make a movie about slavery (he is also an atheist who made a movie about Nazi's and a male who made a movie about a vengeful woman who was raped). Did Quentin cross a line? Sure he did. However, if he didn't cross that line, he would be even more criticized for holding back (and really, any movie about slavery is inherently racist. I don't see how that can be helped). I write this blog about movies, so I am going to focus on the cinematic aspects of it - however, any movie that opens up dialogue about racism in America, has to be a good thing because it is clear from a lot of these debates that we still have a long way to go.
2. It features the best acting I've seen all year - As much as I enjoyed Inglourious Basterds, I never saw what all the fuss about Christoph Waltz was. I get it now. Totally. Probably, my favorite supporting performance all year. He spouts the dialogue with such a natural ease and radiates a presence on screen that is undeniable. When he is onscreen, he is the star of the movie. Second favorite would be Leonardo DiCaprio, who is surprisingly incredible as one of the most evil people to ever grace the screen. As a fan, I shouldn't be surprised, but I just couldn't really picture him playing someone the audience loathes. He's just too charming. He uses this charm and puts a sadistic twist to it and the more I think about it, the more incredible it becomes. I'm not sure what the academy has against him - he has been nominated 3 times, but his last nomination was from 5 years ago for Blood Diamond, which is arguably his worst performance ever. If you consider that he has been doing nomination-worthy work for the past 20 years, 3 nominations are not nearly enough. He should have received a nomination for his work here. I'm not a huge fan of Jamie Foxx (he's one of those hit or miss actors), but he was absolutely awesome - the best I've seen him. As for Tarantino, the perfect narcissist, a director who can get the best actors in the world to be in his films, instead casts himself in a small but important role and becomes a huge distraction to an otherwise perfect cast. He's an awful actor (I just got flashes of his stint on Alias as McKenas Cole. Hilarious.).
3. It is perfectly Quentin - To state the obvious: If you don't like Tarantino films, you won't like this movie. Everything about it is excessive - not only the language and violence, but the story itself (which is ultimately a love story) is over-the-top ridiculous. The final "showdown" is gloriously brutal with so much blood splatter, it's downright comical. It's no surprise that it is filled with homages and throw-backs to Westerns and B-movies, while still maintaining a sense of originality and style. It's a bit long and over-indulgent but it's also a masterpiece, so I have no complaints.