Celebrating Great Films

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Django Unchained

#37 at time of writing.

...In which Quentin Tarantino tries to assuage the collective guilt of White America by dreaming up a black vigilante who cuts a swathe through scores of Confederate slave owners in a blood-soaked revenge fable. I'm not sure a single white character that spends more than about five minutes with Django makes it to the end of the film alive.

It slightly makes me worry for the mentality of Hollywood and America in general that so much racism, rape, hatred and gory murder can so easily be extruded into such a jaunty film. Tarantino knows instinctively what he can get away with, and thereby pushes the boundaries further than most would dare.

One of the things he does particularly well in this film is create tension - there's plenty of it, building up, and then getting periodically released with fountains of special sauce. And, this being a Tarantino Western (or Southern as he puts it), there are plenty of nods to other Westerns, not least Django.

The thing I've always admired most about Tarantino is that his status as filmmaking legend is entirely self-created. Not based on the quality of his films, although his early work surely helped, but because he just decided to spread his own rumours that he was a movie god. Only someone like that would make a movie like this. Totally amoral, utterly self-indulgent, and (*sigh*) brilliant.

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