Last Wednesday, I was fortunate to get a free movie ticket for the special screening of the movie Django Unchained. All I needed was to register my name, my blog and a reply to Jonha’s tweet. 🙂 I was told it’s not mandatory to make a review but what’s a blog for if it only has empty spaces?
Honestly, I didn’t know what the movie was all about. When I saw the words “free” and “movie”, it immediately got my attention. “The best things in life are free,” as the cliché goes. Then when I found out that the movie was written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, I quickly cancelled all my appointments on that day. Who can forget Kill Bill?
I was looking forward to seeing a lot of gory scenes. The movie did not disappoint me. Well, it’s not as bloody as Kill Bill’s but there are some scenes that maybe too abominable for sensitive movie watchers.
The movie is actually a romantic saga centered on the life of two black slave sweethearts, Django and Broomhilda. They were separated and sold to two different masters. Django was “unchained” from slavery by Dr. Schultz, a bounty hunter. Django’s acumen paved his way to become Dr. Schultz’s partner. They travelled to different places killing the “bad guys” and earning money along the way. But Django’s mind is set to find Broomhilda and get her back. They found her at the Candie land and devised a way to buy her at the cheapest price possible. Tragedy happened. The plan didn’t work so well. Somebody died. It ended where….you have to watch the movie. 🙂
The movie captures a part of the history of black slavery. It was very effective in letting the audience feel how inhumanely treated the blacks were during that period. The scenes are so powerful that you will disdain the characters of the white people in the film. I got so engaged that I hated all the white people in the cinema, of course I’m just kidding! 🙂
In hindsight, maybe Quentin wasn’t just showing us the bitter past of humanity. He probably is also showing us a reflection of the current society, maybe not in the obvious way but symbolically. I remember there is one scene where two blacks are wrestling against each other for survival. It’s called Mandingo fighting. Isn’t this similar to the competitive environment of a corporate life? You are pitted against your colleagues (indirectly) and whoever performs better will get a chance to drink the best beer or in your case, THE promotion. How about the scene where Stephen, a black household head, is ridiculing Django who is riding a horse? It’s the common picture of envy and traitorship between people of the same race.
The movie can also be a wake-up call against racial discrimination. It is irrefutable that racism still happens in the world. Just last January, 3000 migrants marched in Athens to hold an anti-racism rally. Racism happens in the airport, in the immigration room, in an airplane, and even in your own country.
It has successfully shown the parallelism between the past and the present. Things never change it seems, do you agree?
The movie is not all about the painful history of slavery. Did you notice the part where a black lady was about to be lashed and whipped by one old fat white guy while he’s reading some verses? After Django killed the three white men, the lady was glaring at the mirror trying to recognize who saved her from the chastisement. In the reflection it’s difficult to know if Django is black or if he’s white. It’s like telling us, it’s not important to know the race (or the social status) of the person who helped you, it’s the act of helping that matters. I know, I know I’m sounding like a moralist in this part. 🙂
Even if the movie revolves on slavery, you won’t leave the cinema heavy-hearted. Quentin has this unique talent of mixing humor with pain and suffering. In fact, I remember the funny and witty dialogues more than the gruesome scenes. There is one scene where Django doesn’t know what positive is and the dialogue was:
Dr. King Schultz: Positive?
Django: I dunno.
Dr. King Schultz: You don’t know if you’re positive?
Django: I don’t know what positive means.
Dr. King Schultz: It means you’re sure.
Dr. King Schultz: Yes, what?
Django: Yes I’m sure it is Ellis Brittle… I’m positive he dead.
There is a lot of hilarious scenes there that will really stretch your mouth wide open. It felt like you are being ping ponged from laughter to remorse to laughter again then to anger then to laughter. The movie is so compelling and is so good in directing the emotions of the viewers. You have to add this in your movie list.
I’ll end this critique with the dialogue between Dr. Schultz and Calvin about Alexandre Dumas:
Dr. King Schultz: Alexander Dumas. He wrote ‘The Three Musketeers.’ I figured you must be an admirer. You named your slave after his novel’s lead character. If Alexander Dumas had been there today, I wonder what he would have made of it?
Calvin Candie: You doubt he’d approve?
Dr. King Schultz: Yes. His approval would be a dubious proposition at best.
Calvin Candie: Soft-hearted Frenchie?
Dr. King Schultz: Alexander Dumas is black.