I can’t talk about Django without bringing up Mel Brooks Blazing Saddles. Like Django, Blazing Saddles addresses the ridiculousness of racism with humor and isn’t shy of using the “N” word. If you haven’t seen Blazing Saddles, or haven’t in awhile, slap that in and enjoy, its fantastic.
But Blazing Saddles takes place after slavery is outlawed and is a Mel Brooks comedy. Quentin Tarantino’s approach to addressing modern racism in a rated R, pre civil war movie is with scenes of brutal violence, swearing, and of the best revenge plots I’ve seen in a long time.
Jamie Fox plays Django, a black slave who is purchased by a former dentist named Dr. Schultz, turned bounty hunter (played by Christoph Waltz) in order to track down three white men who he intends to kill. Django has no problem with this and the two become friends and Schultz offers Django his freedom and partnership in the bounty hunting business. However, Django tells Schultz that he has a wife who was sold to a plantation, Dr. Schultz agrees to help him get her back.
This sets up a spectacular third act that involves Leonardo DiCaprio as a plantation and slave owner and Samuel L. Jackson as a loyal servant. I won’t tell you more, just go see it.
Quentin Tarantino wrote and directed this movie (as he does with most of his films) and he doesn’t disappoint. Pacing, character development and dialogue are all extremely well written and directed. One of the more enjoyable things in this movie is watching Christoph Waltz (who played the polite but devious and evil German Nazi in Tarantino’s Inglorious Bastards) play a very polite, articulate and devious good guy. In Inglourious Basterds he was the Nazi you loved to hate, but in Django, you love to love him because he is just so darn smart and good. Well, good for a man who makes money killing people.
Django Unchained is bloody, but no more so than any other Tarantino movie, and perhaps in this movie the violence is much more topical and has more of a point than others. With the recent increase of racist remarks against our black president and at least perceived increase of racial tension, Django reminds us that when white and black guys get together to kill bad guys, it can be a LOT of fun.
See it in the theater, you won’t regret it.