A Cartoonishly Violent “Django Unchained”
By Skip Sheffield
In “Django Unchained,” writer-director Quentin Tarentino does to slave-owners and traders what he did to Nazis in “Inglourious Basterds.” He blows them all the way.
Yes, “Django” is ridiculously, recklessly, relentlessly violent, in a cartoon-spatter kind of way. Tarentino gives a black man, Jamie Foxx, the hero’s role of freed slave Django. Playing co-hero, if you will, is a white man, Dr. King Schultz (Christophe Waltz), a German-born dentist-turned-bounty hunter who buys Django’s freedom in 1858 and sets out in search for Django’s wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), who is being held in bondage by a particularly obnoxious and cowardly Southern plantation owner, Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio).
DiCaprio seems to relish playing such a reprehensible character. Dandy Candie is a kind of a blond-haired, blue-eyed Snidely Whiplash.
While it is beautifully, lovingly photographed, “Django” is not for delicate sensibilities or sensitive ears. The story practically revels in the cruelty and injustice of slavery, leading the audience to cheer the righteous vengeance of “Django” all the more.
“Django” is the dark yang to the idealistic yin of “
Lincoln.” Abraham Lincoln
was a real-life hero who paid the ultimate price for his courage and
determination in freeing America’s
slaves: his own life.
“Django” is as crude and simplistic (yet entertaining) as “
Lincoln” is lofty,
stately and noble. There is a place for both approaches in America. I
happened to prefer “ Lincoln”
as my choice for best movie of 2012.