Django Unchained

“I’m sorry, I just couldn’t resist” – Dr. King Schultz

So there it is, in all its technicolour glory, Tarantino’s long awaited western “Django Unchained”. The story: in the pre civil war South a German bounty hunter, Dr. Schultz, buys the black slave Django in an effort to find three brothers he has been hunting down. Django helps him, thus becoming a free man, and a bond of friendship is soon formed between these strange bedfellows. However, Django has bigger things on his mind: he has to find his great love and wife, from whom he was separated by a nasty white man. Dr. Schultz reveals himself to be a great romantic and agrees to aid Django.

This is a long, some might say, epic movie. It is beautifully shot, the soundtrack is excellent, with plenty of Morricone references. The leads are played brilliantly, with the absolute shining star of the movie being Christopher Waltz, who plays a charming dead opposite to his role in “Inglourious Basterds”.

There are plenty of laughs, plenty of pin sharp and witty dialogue and a lot – and I mean A LOT – of bloody gunfights. The story, though slightly slow at times, is well constructed and the finale is absolutely riveting. Kudos to Tarantino for keeping me guessing right up to the very final scenes.

All in all, this film should merit nothing buy praise: Tarantino pulls it out of the bag, again! However, for me, as an entire product, it somehow failed. No, it wasn’t the frequent use of the word “nigger” that grated. But the juxtaposition of realistic imagery of the violent abuse of black slaves – including a truly gruesome bare knuckle fight to the death of two men – with the slapstick style gunplay just didn’t work for me.

The, mostly very amusing, silliness of Tarantino’s movie idiom just doesn’t sit well when combined with a heart breaking subject like slavery. To me, the same can be said about Inglourious Basterds treatment of Jewish persecution. Personally I think Tarantino would do better to stay away from such heavyweight subjects when constructing such movies that are, in essence, comedies. Unless, of course there is something I am missing…