Sunday, January 20, 2013

Django Unchained

I'm hardly the Quentin Tarantino fan, in fact, the very sight of him makes me kinda nauseous. But as a confirmed believer in the "every dog has his day" philosophy of life and living (ie- based on the favorable reviews), I gradually came to the conclusion that I had to grit my teeth, cross my fingers, and check Django out for myself.

And this is one masterful piece of movie making before finally descending into the routine spaghetti western it ultimately purports to be in its last half hour. Tarantino has taken that most exaggerated of genres, infused it with liberal doses of genuine humor, and still manages to create palpable tension with its visceral depictions of the brutality that was slavery. Not an easy feat to pull off by any means. While not a historical dissertation on antebellum plantation America, neither does it gloss over the overriding evil that pervaded "that most peculiar institution." It does not exist in the background as some theoretical evil or historical backdrop, it is highlighted front stage and center in all its hideous, pernicious degradation of human mind and body.

What makes the film so entertaining and unique is that you never quite know which way the storyline will go, how a particular scene will play out- be it for drama, shock, or unexpected humor (a crowd scene with KKK precursors is one of the funniest offbeat comedic scenarios ever filmed- and I detest most modern comedies). Every scene is a chess match of human emotions. This is in large part due to the character of Django's partner and mentor, one very uniquely drawn and versatile Dr. King Schultz- cunning, ingenious and comically deceptive. This unlikely duo of bounty hunters enchant us into a dreamlike escapade filled with various unforeseen encounters that lure and captivate our imagination, only to  awaken us in one sweaty fright.

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