DJANGO UNCHAINED: Revenge Tarantino Style

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DJANGO UNCHAINED, from Columbia Pictures and The Weinstein Company, ignites the screen with Director Quentin Tarantino’s signature style of storytelling as he delves into the sadistic world of Slave Era America and the brutalities of slave life.

Executive Produced by Bob and Harvey Weinstein, DJANGO UNCHAINED was written and directed by Tarantino and stars Christoph Waltz, Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Don Johnson, Bruce Dern, Samuel L. Jackson and Kerry Washington. The screening was hosted at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood.

Quentin Tarantino has created a masterful portrayal in that one cannot sit through the three hour film and not have a reaction. And one would have to be in deadened not to be moved by the heinous and barbaric brutalities. Tarantino doesn’t shy from digging deep into salve era south. The plantations in Mississippi, where it seemed the ways to torture a Negro slave were concocted with pleasure and almost joyfully, as new methods were conceived over booze and cards are given ample screen time.

There is deeply dehumanizing treatment presented throughout which becomes the catalyst for the finale. The plight of the Negro slaves and families being ripped apart is in actuality the foundation of DJANGO UNCHAINED as Jamie Foxx, DJANGO, and the “D” is silent, and his wife, Kerry Washington, Broomhilda, were sold separately and the family unit destroyed. Django is rescued in the opening scenes by an unorthodox, fastest gun in the west, dentist/bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz, portrayed by Christoph Waltz, who takes Django under his wing and with guidance and protection the two become a team.

Although DJANGO UNCHAINED is billed as a Spaghetti Western and in the opening scenes, the credits and intro, and even the film's score throughout, are misleading as to the depth of the atrocities housed within the next three hours. There are uncomfortable and almost intolerable scenes of the slavery era that depict agonizing, evil, inexplicable behavior and torture. And other scenes that are funny and, like any good revenge driven film, the audience is rooting for the underdog to settle the score.

DJANGO UNCHAINED doesn’t glorify violence, although there is heavy violence, physical abuse, and in the end Tarantino adds a slave era SCARFACE scene. The entire cast brings solid performances including the overseers, those who inflict the torture, and the plantation owners, Don Johnson and Leonardo DiCaprio. Jamie Foxx, may be shown, if a double wasn’t used, full frontal, in an end scene. And what the story of DJANGO UNCHAINED really comes down to is a love story and the lengths a man will go to save the one he loves.

Watching DJANGO UNCHAINED, one can see how Tarantino effectively uses humor throughout to diffuse the preceding  graphic scenes of bloodshed and carnage. Scenes where Big Daddy portrayed by Don Johnson, seeks revenge by killing Schultz and Django after their first successful kill as a bounty hunting team, and leads the hooded retaliation seeking plantation owners as his group of thirty-two men, on horseback, are complaining about the size of the eye holes in the pillow cases and should the hoods be worn or not. It was funny.

As revenge boomerangs Django and Dr. King Schultz find themselves heading into the Deep South to rescue Django’s wife Broomhilda, who has been sold to Calvin Candie, portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio, the owner of Candie-Land and the most vicious, wicked and most notorious slave owner in Chickasaw County Mississippi. Samuel L. Jackson portrays Stephen, the house manger, who is led by self-preservation, and according to Django, "there's no one lower than the house Nigger." Which is a good indicator, although Jackson plays his role to perfection, of his character. 

DJANGO UNCHAINED is not a feel good family friendly film. It is a brutally honest portrayal and possibly light on the horrific and unfathomable depiction of slave era America. Derogatory word usage used to describe the slaves are frequent.  DJANGO UNCHAINED has been nominated for five Golden Globes and has been named one of the 2013 AFI Movies of the Year.

DJANGO UNCHAINED opens everywhere Christmas Day.

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