Monday, December 31, 2012
Let's get this out of the way. I love Quentin Tarantino movies. I loved "Reservoir Dogs." I loved "Pulp Fiction." I loved "Kill Bill." I loved "Inglourious Basterds." Even though he didn't direct it, I loved "True Romance." Okay, I didn't much like "Death Proof" or "Jackie Brown" but even Hitchcock and Kubrick had their failings. I am always prepared to not love one of Quentin Tarantino's movies. I didn't have to brace myself, because I loved this one. Tarantino brought his A-game with his ability to make you laugh and horrify you within seconds without it feeling like mood whiplash.
The cast was great. Jamie Foxx really sold the character of Django Freeman, and while he may be freed when the movie opens, the title of the movie smacks you in the face as the film progresses. Christoph Waltz is terrific as always in the role of Dr. King Schultz, a German dentist turned bounty hunter. And as for Leonardo DiCaprio as Calvin Candi, the sadistic slave master of the largest plantation in the country? Everyone... stop hitting DiCaprio with "Titanic" he is a great actor, one of the best actors... if you watch this movie and still can't see that, there is something wrong with you. Period. Samuel L. Jackson is in this movie too, but I would rather not spoil his character much, you need to see it for yourself.
As with every Tarantino movie, you can feel his love of the medium in every frame. This movie was shot on film, not on digital, and I am grateful for that. Film will always look better. I cannot wait to own this on Blu-ray. The dialogue is as witty as any Tarantino movie, and as always feels like more than your standard action movie.
When I saw this movie my first thought is how pissed off this will make so many in the south. Slavery is a very touchy issue for large portions of the former Confederacy. I was amazed how unapologetic this movie was and it raises points that have been largely absent from mainstream cinema. The "lost cause" ideology has been dominant in most movies, I knew this movie was going to challenge that idea, but I was not prepared for how it subverted that ideology altogether. This was a very refreshing movie for me, because the south can throw up whatever excuses and revisionist myths they want, they built their economy and culture on the backs of slavery and human trafficking... they were only slightly better than Nazi Germany. It took seventy-three years for the myths of "Gone With the Wind" to finally be challenged, and it is much appreciated.