It has been a long time since movie goers will be as conflicted over a movie, but that's the sort of film "Django Unchained" is. The movie, the latest, by Quentin Tarantino, tells the story of Django (Jamie Foxx), a Black man that finds freedom in a most unlikely manner. He eventually becomes a bounty hunter with a most unusual ability to kill. And, kill he does. He's motivated to ruthlessly murder any and everything that stands between him and his lovely wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) and those are mostly White plantation owners and workers that seek to hold him back. The movie offers compelling acting from Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson, Don Johnson and a lot of co-stars.
With that, Django will continue to generate dialogue between those that that love it or hate it. The opposed notions are representative of the characters in the movie since most of them have no grey matter. With that, AllHipHop presents an effort to offer both sides of "Django Unchained," the good and the ugly, as told by this writer and the creators of this controversial movie.
5 Reasons Why You Should Watch "Django"
1) In Some Demented Way, Django Is A Heroic Figure.
Quentin Tarantino [director] says: "There are a zillion dramatic exciting heartbreaking triumphant [slavery] stories that can be told. Everyone always says there are no new stories, but there’s a whole bunch of them, American stories. And I wanted to be first one out the gate with it."
2) Ultimately, "Django Unchained" Is A Triumphant Love Story Between A Strong Black Man And An Unbreakable Black Woman.
Kerry Washington [Django's wife Broomhilda] says: "I was very moved by love story because [enslaved] Blacks were not allowed to fall in love and get married. This is a story about a husband and wife when blacks weren’t allowed to be husband and wife. We get to see romantic stories all the time...those crossed loved stories. They’re not from different Italian families like romeo juliet, but Jamie [as Django] had to take down slavery and Candyland for his woman. I feel like this is a movie I had to do for my father. He had no superheroes. Django is a hero."
3) Django Is An Enslaved Black Man That Immediately Seizes Power Like No Other Enslaved Black Man.
Kerry Washington says: A lot of times people in past may have felt nervous about playing a slave because there are so many narratives about powerlessness. This is a film about a black man that finds freedom, rescues wife, who’s an agent of his own power. A liberator. A hero. Nothing shameful about the film. It’s exciting, hopeful and inspiring.
Jamie Foxx [Django] says: First off, everything in this film...we never get a chance to see a slave fight back, actually do for himself. there are lots of firsts in this movie...you make comments based on things you see you see for the first time...I knew coming into this that there would be a lot of things said...it was a fantastic ride
4) The Movie Is Funny And Well-acted.
Somehow, despite the subject matter. Quentin Tarantino - the sick genius he is - manages to create humor in "Django Unchained." The funniest part was a gut-busting Klan gathering gone wrong, but there was many others in the movie. Quentin Tarantino: "In editing, I needed a cheer in end and had to figure out how to balance emotions. I didn’t want to traumatize audience so bad that they cant enjoy the movie." So, don't feel badly if the movie is enjoyable. The talent in the movie are without peer.
5) For All Of The Violence And Excess, We Get To See Slavery In Its Most Brutal, Racist And Horrific Form.
Leonardo DiCaprio (The villainous Calvin Candy) says: "[Being the villain in "Django Unchained"] sucks, man. Being the biggest villain of the piece. My character represented everything wrong with the South. He’s like a young Prince trying to hold onto all his privileges at all costs. He’s a walking contradiction: raised by Blacks and lived with Blacks but had to see them as non-human. Calvin Candy is a narcissistic, self indulgent racist. He's one of the most horrible characters I read in my life, but I had to do it. He’s too good of character...I hated him...could not identify with him."
(Editor's note: These quotes are from an exclusive press conference in New York City that featured the major characters of "Django Unchained.")
5 Reasons Why You Should Skip "Django"
1) The "N-Word" Is Used 114 Times (Or More)!
The biggest mistake I made while watching "Django Unchained" was trying to count the number of times the word n***er was used. I stopped at 64. Sure, some argue it is powerfully contextualized in the movie, but I found it exclusively offensive. Spike Lee agrees. The "Do The Right Thing" genus tweeted, ""American Slavery Was Not A Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western. It Was A Holocaust. My Ancestors Are Slaves. Stolen From Africa. I Will Honor Them." To me, Tarantino made the word into another character in "Django Unchanged," a faceless antagonist. In "Django Unchained," n***er is almost exclusively in a Virulent manner. My friend and activist Tarik Ross said, "QT got his rocks off having his characters saying the N word. He likes to say it to RZA and who knows how many other silly negroes who also get their rocks off saying it back to him." At the end of the day, it was unnecessary, but true to Quentin Tarantino's previous use.
2) Tarantino Spin Or Not, Do We Really Need Another Movie About Slavery?
There are so many slave flicks. Clearly, none that are of the Tarantino fare, but better from a historical and educational point of view. If we want a super hero for the current era, I recommend Quentin Tarantino or John Singleton or Spike Lee get The Nat Turner rebellion or the Black Panther comic book green lit into a big budget movie. Now, those are real super heroes - straight outta Africa!
3) Mass Killing Is Way Out Of Style!
A friend of mine, MSNBC analyst Ari Meliber argued - in an excellent piece for the Atlantic - that "Django Unchained" is actually amoral and void of critical thought of similar movies like "Inglorious Bastards," a holocaust period flick also by Tarantino. He says, "While 'Django Unchained' presents a morally stark universe, where people do and say evil things with no remorse, it also luxuriates in the license that such evil provides. We are invited to cheer on the slavish killing of men and women, black and white, because they are implicated in an evil institution." No spoilers here, but if we are going to argue realism - in the instance of the overuse of n***er - then we have to agree that the "black and white" portrayal of the characters reduces them to overly simplistic characters that really cater to people most base emotions. African Americans cheered at the end of "Django Unchained" at the screening I attended. No bueno.
4) It Gets Boring!
Frankly, "Django Unchained" clocks in at 165 minutes. As we sat in the movie, I began to wonder when it would all end. Parts of the movie dragged on endlessly and perhaps worse - pointlessly. Even amid the periods of action, the gun violence gets routine and generic.
5) Opening date on Christmas. Really? This is not the movie to enhance your holly, jolly holiday.