What Quentin Tarantino film would be complete without a little controversy? I had been warned about the graphic frames ahead of time but it did very little to soften the horror blow. Django Unchained is the story of a black slave, played by Jamie Foxx, whose freedom is garnered by a German dentist/bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz), for fortuitous mutually beneficial reasons, and whose junk came perilously and disturbingly close to being removed (I wish I could remove the visual from my eyeballs). Come to find out, they made a pretty badass team until they met up with the mother of all motherfuckers, Calvin Candie, played by Leonardo DiCaprio.
I’m figuring that when you make a movie that doesn’t put the Hollywood gloss on slavery, that there are going to be some uproarious folks pissed off about it. As for me, there were a few points of possibly offensive contention. The liberal white guy rescuing Django? When Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, Calvin Candie poses the conundrum, why don’t they rise up when clearly the numbers are in their favor? It seems like Tarantino is unwittingly blaming victims, and if anything, that was more offensive than the likely realistic usage of the n-word ten million times.
Aside from the controversy, the movie itself really didn’t leave me with a flush of the avant-garde that I was hoping to get from a new Tarantino. It was regurgitated and formulaic even for him. And, if anybody should be upset about anything in this movie, it’s the Australians. Tarantino’s own god-awful performance as an Australian was a cringing insult to Australia. It was a truly shitty thing to do to the audience, wrenching us out of the story like that. Fortunately, every other actor in the movie brought it. From DiCaprio to Foxx, every vignette of a scene was perfection in the acting department. Go see it, it’ll make you sick and it’ll make you cringe, but it’s worth it. And no – it’s no Pulp Fiction.