So…you know how I took that super long break from blogging recently? I also took a break from reading. Crazy, I know, but Kati and I had to finish preparing for Pitch Wars, and when I get into full-on reading mode not as much writing happens. But luckily, my lazy butt could still watch movies, so here goes!
I saw “Django Unchained” earlier this week. First, a disclaimer: I didn’t want to see it. It looked like it might be terribly gory, and I’m kind of a wimp when it comes to things like that. My husband has been trying to drag me to see this movie since it first came out in theaters, but I kept finding excuses not to go. Still, I loved “Pulp Fiction,” and I knew any Quentin Tarantino movie would be full of great dialogue, so eventually I gave in…and I’m so glad.
Django Unchained takes place two years before the civil war, and deals with some of the nastier issues of America’s past; not only slavery itself, but also the treatment of those slaves, and the prejudices which were held as common knowledge at the time. I was surprised, therefore, by how funny parts of this movie were. Normally I don’t think slavery is something to make jokes about, but I felt like Tarantino used humor here as a way of illustrating how completely ridiculous a lot of the commonly held “knowledge” was about african americans, while still demonstrating that these things did happen, people did believe them. This made those scenes funny, and yet also difficult to watch at the same time, so even the humor had tension in it.
The characters were all very engaging, and Jamie Foxx does an amazing job, but personally I felt like Christoph Waltz stole the show with his depiction of german bounty hunter Dr. Schultz. He seems to undergo the most change throughout the story, and I was very impressed with how well he conveyed his growing discomfort of the brutality around him, while still being a man who killed people for money.
Leonardo DiCaprio also lent a lot of depth to the villain he played: Calvin Candie was a completely repugnant man who enjoyed watching men fight to the death and even has a man ripped apart by dogs (I didn’t see that scene…closed my eyes for that one…<shudder>), and yet, there’s more to him than that. He’s a complete hypocrite, pretending to be something he isn’t and not quite making it, but he’s also a product of his environment, a man who grew up on a huge plantation with life on a silver platter and a firm belief in his own superiority. So while you despised him, you could almost understand…almost. And of course Samuel L. Jackson very convincingly plays the particularly sinister and despicable Stephen.
The only character I didn’t really like in this movie was Broomhilda, Django’s wife. Don’t get me wrong, Kerry Washington does a good job, but her main role in the film seems to be crying and screaming. In her character’s position, I have no doubt that’s what I’d be doing, too, but as a viewer I wanted her to take a more active role in her own fate, rather than resigning herself more or less to the damsel in distress role
Otherwise, definitely a movie worth seeing, with super over-the-top characters and over-the-top gore. Yes, I know I mentioned I’m not a huge gore fan, but it was so overdone that it was clearly fake, and aside from a few scenes I didn’t really have a problem with it. (another disclaimer: there were two scenes I didn’t watch…I not only had my eyes closed, but my ears were covered, too…wimpy? Maybe, but I’m not sorry.) The dialogue is excellent, and there are some truly tense, edge-of-your seat scenes throughout.
How about you? Anyone else watch this movie? Thoughts, opinions?