So, in comes director Quentin Tarantino and actor Jamie Foxx. Amid all the controversy about “Django Unchained” and the use of the dreaded “N-word” throughout the movie, I would still say go see it.
Just like “The Titanic” wasn’t primarily about the actual sinking of the ship or “Pearl Harbor” wasn’t just about the bombing, Django Unchained isn’t really about slavery. Sure, the setting takes place during one of the most horrendous periods in American history — and it occurs during a time that may be the most despicable in black history — but, this is about love and the pursuit of happiness for a strong, black man.
As with any Tarantino movie, you’re not getting anything typical. Love him or hate him, you’re bound to experience a different journey, despite the genre. This is more like a western/slave epic combined, disguised as a love story with revenge mixed in with a tinge of comedic, dramatic overtones.
The movie is almost 3 hours long, but, at least it’s a film that moves so much that you’re not going to realize the length until you’re already 2 hours in. Christoph Waltz, as Dr. Schultz, does a tremendous job as a German former dentist turned bounty hunter who “rescues” Jamie Foxx’s Django (The D is silent), a slave who is promised his freedom if he helps Dr. Schultz in his pursuit of a trio of brothers he is hunting. After Django assists in capturing the brothers, Schultz decides to help Django find his wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), after he partners with him in his bounty hunting duties.
Along the way, the realities of slavery is shown in a way never seen before on camera. The treatment of slaves may make some uncomfortable and very uneasy, but, the way I see it, it may have been much worse as it wasn’t recorded. This is definitely not Roots! As a black man, I didn’t, in any way, feel offended by what I saw on screen and in fact, I think it’s important that blacks, specifically young blacks, see what once was, to get a better understanding of how far we’ve come. But, at the same time, I think that some people, who don’t realize how bad blacks really had it, should see what went on so they can have a better appreciation of how far we’ve come! But, anyway, back to the movie…
A movie that is well-casted goes far when it comes to actors making you believe their characters. Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) is the evil, non-caring plantation owner of Candieland. He plays the role of a rich owner who has slaves trained in Mandingo fighting, which pits strong, athletic slaves against each other to fight to the death of one, albeit brutal. He also owns Broomhilda and will be the key to her escape and/or the purchasing of her to Django and Dr. Schultz.
Samuel L. Jackson plays the role of the house slave who has a penchant to kiss Candie’s ass so well, yet, treats the servants of the house as they are his own slaves. The bitterness he has towards Django is extreme since he is a free man and is instructed to treat him as such.
I feel that if you go in with certain preconceived notions and unrealistic expectations, then you will not enjoy a movie that you can actually learn something from or at the very least, it’ll give you something to think about. There can be some historical lessons learned here and it’s also quite funny at times, so, it is worth watching, you will get a laugh or two.