The Film Society unlocked the shackles and screened Quentin Tarantio’s controversial Django Unchained at The Phoenix. This film kicked off the societies Tarantino month and features an all star cast including Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson and Jamie Foxx.
Django Unchained is set in 1858 and tells a Spaghetti Western style story of love, treachery and the violence of slavery. Django (Foxx) is a slave who was parted from his wife Broomhilda when he was sold off. By a chance encounter with Dr. King Shultz a dentist and a bounty hunter, Django is offered his freedom to help Shultz collect his bounty.
They both embark on a tense and unpredictable journey when Django tries to reclaim his wife from a sadistic plantation owner, Calvin Candie (DiCaprio).
Although Tarantino usually follows a nonlinear narrative, Django is filmed in a traditional and accessible fashion which may appeal to a wider audience. The film handles the sensitivity of slavery well, while including trademark dark humour, which will ensure you won’t ever picture the KKK in the same way.
The reason this move was so controversial is because of the way it displays the brutality of slavery, in a way similar to what ‘Passion of the Christ’ did for Christianity, this film shows how horrific and violent slavery was. The use of racial slurs is a sensitive issue with Tarantino films at the best of times, but for the first time I believe that they are used to show the extremity of racism in the American West, rather than to shock audiences.
Although this isn’t one of my favourite films, I personally found Django to be predictable and I know, everyone hates me for it, but I can’t help how I feel. This doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate what Quentin Tarantino has managed to achieve with this violent revival of the western genre.