I often imagine that there exists a rather large subculture of individuals who enjoy watching a Quentin Tarantino film while masturbating. I assume that the more dedicated advocates incorporate a physical copy of the script alongside the act*. I also assume the greatest propagator of this fetishism is Tarantino himself.
Now by no means should this be taken as an insult. Diff`rent strokes for diff`rent folks I say to the former group of individuals; and to the latter individual, your exuberant display of enthusiasm shows great pride in your work.
Q-Tips` recent work has been a series of pulp-n`-cult mimesis. The “Kill Bill” duo represents his hat-tip to ronins and katanas on screen (with varying degrees of success, though few can argue with the result); “Deathproof”, though a superb shadow of “Vanishing Point” that nearly overshadows with its own shadow, was still saturated with so much dialogue that it hardly fit into the neo-grindhouse subgenre it almost single-handedly helped spawn.
Yet, with a combination of entertaining style and hard-grit effort, “Django Unchained” manages to accomplish what its formers strived to: to feel like the genre it is trying to pay homage to while still being a Quentin Tarantino snog-fest. “Django” is a true neo-spaghetti western, tailored for those who don’t want one (it’s a good thing).
The story starts with our hero in chains, as would be expected. Trapped in the seemingly unalterable prejudice of his time, Django (Jamie Fox) is dealt a wild card of fate when he meets Dr. Schultz (Christoph Waltz), whom, like all traveling dentists, has an ulterior motive. Through a series of Tarentino-esque twists and turns, Django finds himself not only freed from bondage, but on a quest to save his beloved Broomhilda from the tobacco-stained clutches of Calvin Candy (Leonardo DiCaprio) by becoming an apprentice bounty hunter under the tutelage of the good doctor.
Having read the script via illicit means prior to watching , I did not find myself satisfactorily sexually aroused to commit myself to the aforementioned cinematic self-flagellation.Yet when faced with the visual counterpart, I am forced to yield that “Django Unchained” is a stylish and innovative synthesis of neo-spaghetti-western, Tarantino-esque ultra-violent shenanigans, and tongue-in-cheek historical color-commentary (pun intended).
Tarantino, as is his flair, makes excellent use of soundtrack to mark the drama and trauma in a markedly sardonic manner. At times twanging out quick-draw guitars that virtually blow the tumbleweed with their own sound and other times blasting a straight-up rap on horseback, the result with always produce a sharp bark of laughter that may or not be appropriate to the setting.
Or perhaps that is just me.
In typical Tarantino, you are forced to wait for the violence. And wait you do. And violence you get. The double-climax of the last act gleefully endorses enough sensationalism to appease even those who thought the (damn near exact) finale of “Inglourious Basterds” was tame. While predictable in its twists, “Django” still manages to give you a surprise or two, even if they are not the surprises that they expected to be surprising.
And let me express how thoroughly I enjoyed the acting in this. DiCaprio’s rendition of the archetypal man-you-love-to-hate is an absolute treat. Christoph Waltz manages, in a fashion that I am yet to fully comprehend, to portray exactly the same character he did in his last romp with the director and one that is utterly different (possibly the greatest shock for me in watching). Despite the script having next to no character development for Django’s beloved, we still have reason to trust in Foxx’s deliberation. Unfortunately, her complete lack of personality make her little more than a pretty li’l McGuffin, meant only to give our heroes an excuse to kill more.
“Django Unchained” has joined its predecessor “Inglourious Basterds” in what appears to be Tarantino’s attempts to create a new subgenre of ‘exploitative apologies’, taking the atrocities of the West’s history as an avenue to create a film that grants the victims a work of art that says “hey, in my universe, all the bad guys’ heads explode”.
A sentimental thought, I think, so long as it keeps giving us DiCaprio with a beard and a hammer.
*Admittedly, this is me with Christopher Nolan films