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At the end of “Lincoln,” everybody is happy. The slaves are free. But were the freed slaves really happy?
Imagine the point of view of a 40-year-old freedman. Yeah, his owner is unshackling him. But it’s not so easy to forgive decades of unpaid servitude and subhuman treatment. And it’s hard to forget the fact that the best years of his life have been stolen from him and that his wife was sold to a faraway plantation.
If he had the power, he’d exact revenge on his owner and maybe the entire slave-holding world.
“Django Unchained” is a slave revenge fantasy written and directed by the reigning king of ultra-violence - Quentin Tarantino. It’s a cool concept and Tarantino executes it perfectly. This is easily his best movie since “Pulp Fiction.”
Jamie Foxx plays Django. When we meet him, he is - unsurprisingly - chained. He is part of a small crew of slaves being marched through the Texas wilderness in 1858.
He is saved by a slick-talking German bounty hunter named Dr. Schultz (Christoph Waltz), who buys Django and gives him a simple proposal. Django must help Schultz track down and identify his former owners so the bounty hunter can kill them and collect the reward. And then Schultz will grant Django his freedom.
Django enjoys killing the slaveowners so much that he decides instead to join Dr. Schultz. So begins nearly three hours of relentless violence, as Django weaves a trail of bodies across the Antebellum south.
Quentin Tarantino is a master of suspense.
But not the usual, Hitchcock-style suspense where the audience has a feeling of mounting dread about the bad violent things that are about to happen. Tarantino gives the audience a feeling of mounting excitement about the fun violent things that are about to happen.
Quentin Tarantino is also a master of cool movie soundtracks.
The biggest, easiest mistake he could have made is scoring his hip movie with old-fashioned, fiddle-driven, period music. All that would have done is make the events seem less relatable to a modern audience.
By having Django shoot down the slave holders to an inspired soundtrack of outlaw country and pumping hip-hop tracks, it makes the 19th Century events seem more real and more cool.
If you like violent movies like I do, then you will love “Django Unchained.” It is wicked, witty, bloody fun.
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