Saturday, December 29, 2012
"Django Unchained" is another Tarantino comic bloodbath
It strikes me as bizarre to open a Quentin Tarantino movie on Christmas day, most of all “Django Unchained’, combination of comedy, gore-fest, western and “southern”.
In 1858, a former dentist (whatever dental surgery amounted to then) Dr. King Schultz (Chrisrtoph Waltz) buys a slave Djank (Jamkie Foxx), trains him as a bounty hunter and then mentors into rescuing his wife (Kerry Washington) from a sociopathic plantation owner Calvin Candie (Leonardo Di Caprio).
It’s a little hard to believe the territory this tag team covers in the course of a year (let alone the 165 minutes of the film). It gets up into Wyoming, with views of the Tetons, and plays posse “until the snows melt” (before global warming that could take until June), then somehow scoots back to flat Mississippi to the plantation. (That part of the movie was actually shot in Louisiana, oft course.)
The shotgun violence, especially in the last half hour, is among the most graphic I have ever seen. Yes, body parts roll, including some that will not be named here (remember Dallas in the 1980s, “Jo Bob says check it out”). It does bring to mind Sam Peckinpah’s “The Wild Bunch” (1969, which I saw while in the Army). At mid point, there is a particularly sick scene where Calvin enjoys a fight to death on a personal stage between two slaves, to end with a hammer.
Samuel L. Jackson (Stephen) talks about the film here (video from DP/30).
The film is circulated by “independent distributor” The Weinstein Company but was made with the “help” of Columbia Pictures (not TriStar or Screen Gems – the latter company sounds like appropriate branding).
The film has some interesting background music, including the "Dies Irae" from Verdi's Requiem, Beethoven's "Fur Elise" on a harp, and some familiar chamber orchestra music from a modern Italian composer whose name I could not pick up from the credits.
The link for the film is here.
I saw the film in a large auditorium at Regal in Arlington VA on Friday afternoon, with a small crowd, which cackled at the dialogue as much as the violence.
Pictures: Mine. The second picture is along the Mississippi coast in early 2006, after Katrina.