2013-01-11 / Entertainment/Lifestyles


“Django Unchained” – Pulp Plantation
By Robert Snyder

Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino (“Pulp Fiction,” “Inglourious Basterds”) puts the antebellum South in his ultra-violent cinematic crosshairs for “Django Unchained.”

After the Sandy Hook School massacre, he was asked whether films, such as his, were influencing the climate of mass murder today. He acknowledged the profound sadness of the tragedy, but shrugged off any guilt, saying, “This has been going on since Shakespeare: Blame the playwright.”

Is it a stretch to compare the Bard to the current big-time B Movie King? Shakespeare was providing popular entertainment for his time, as is Tarantino. And, boy, is there blood in the works of both. It was a violent world then, and it is now.

Tarantino embraces schlock filmmaking with his heart and soul, with all its angry ugliness. In “Django,” his ire is directed at slavery and the sick romanticism of it in the Old South, embodied by Hollywood classics, “Gone With the Wind” and “Birth of a Nation.”

The story opens two years prior to the Civil War, as a group of shackled black slaves are being led across the wilds of Texas. They are intercepted by a strange traveler in a horse-drawn cart topped by a giant tooth. He claims to be a dentist, Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz), and is looking for a certain slave, Django (Jamie Foxx). In fact, Dr. Schultz is a bounty hunter and needs Django to identify some outlaws, whom he wants, “Dead or Alive.”

Thus, a great partnership is formed and the start of many adventures that ultimately end at the Candyland Plantation in Mississippi. There, we encounter the evil Lord of the Manor, Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) and the real purpose of the mission. That is, to rescue a maiden in distress, Django’s wife, the beautiful abused slave girl, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington).

Despite the almost unrelenting gore, “Django Unchained” is laced with humor, some of which is downright “Blazing Saddles” silly. When marauding vigilante gang apply white hoods, they argue about the impracticality of this self-blinding disguise.

“Django Unchained” is a mixture of Clint Eastwood Western, “Spartacus,” and Mel Brooks. At 2 hours and 45 minutes, it’s never boring and always Quentin Tarantino.

There’s no mincing of words, his favorite beginning with “N,” and made popular by Mark Twain.

See it, but prepare to be entertained and offended.

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