‘Django Unchained’ shows harsh reality of slave trade

– Thomas Mills contributed with this report.

Quentin Tarantino returns from a four year break with “Django Unchained”, a tribute of sorts to the Wild West films that inspired him as a child.

Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" has caused controversy due to the level of violence it contains. Photo: Columbia Pictures

However, as with any Tarantino film, controversy is never far away. A few questions remain: is “Django Unchained” too violent? Is it right to depict such a delicate subject as slavery with Tarantino’s witty dialog and stylistic vision? And most importantly, is the film any good?

Django (Jamie Foxx) is a slave recently freed by German bounty hunter Dr Schultz (Christoph Waltz). Between the two of them they strike up a deal; Django will help Schultz find a group of murderers known as the Brittle brothers and Schultz will help Django track down and free Django’s wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington).

In almost three hours of film spent with Django and Schultz we follow them through Texas and to the slave plantation run by Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio).

The fact that Tarantino has only made a handful of films since 1992 means each of his releases are met with high expectations, in particular from his cult following and more die-hard fans.

That said, “Django Unchained” is one of Tarantino’s most ambitious and adventurous outings of his career so far.

Jamie Foxx has an enduring on-screen presence and makes a wonderfully tough but emotionally vulnerable hero as Django.  Christoph Waltz tops his performance from Tarantino’s last release “Inglourious Basterds” and proves why he is one of the most in-demand character actors in Hollywood today.

Leonardo DiCaprio makes a great villain with his performance as the extravagant megalomaniac Calvin Candie. Both Kerry Washington and Samuel L Jackson also add great flare to such a dream cast. Even the script is full of memorable quotes and enduring conversations, as would be expected with any Tarantino film.

Yet Tarantino is certainly not afraid to fill the screen with bloody violence at times, and to great effect.  In answer to the question, is “Django Unchained” too violent? Perhaps it needs to be.

Unlike previous films that try to tackle slavery, Tarantino doesn’t tip-toe around the subject. He hits it hard and shows the harsh realities of the slave industry without holding off the bloodshed. The film may only contain 15 minutes worth of violence in this three hour epic, but each scene is showered in blood and gore.

As with all Tarantino films, the sound track pays tribute to the films that influenced him. Certain cameo appearances and even camera shots are all used to pay respect to Westerns. Tarantino also references his previous films by repeating camera techniques from “Reservoir Dogs” and “Kill Bill”.

“Django Unchained” contains no dull moments and is wonderfully entertaining, if to an acquired and slightly violent taste. While it will no doubt cause controversy due to its use of violence and the slavery it depicts, all credit to Tarantino for sticking to his guns. Five Golden Globe nominations, including one for “Best Picture” can’t be argued with.

2 Responses to ‘Django Unchained’ shows harsh reality of slave trade

  1. rochell henderson says:

    for some just another entertaining flick, to others a crash history lesson form not too long ago and a reminder to why people act the way they do.

  2. Shieroc says:

    The movie is great. Loved it!