Unmitigated, gruesome violence, guts and gore resonate throughout Quentin Tarantino’s 1858 saga of an unshackled slave “Django” (incredible, brilliant performance by Jamie Foxx) and his associate Dr.King Schultz (Christoph Waltz, genius informs his every role) as they roll through bigoted, slavery -infested South; bounty hunters; ignoring the “alive” and focusing on the “dead” portion of the “wanted” poster. The deftness, artistry of both men, undeniably mesmerizing, compelling; complementing each other; elite and plebeian forging a mutual respect, as their coffers and coffins inflate simultaneously.
Their circuitous pilgrimage leads them to “Candyland” the vast plantation, mastered by pungently sleazy, obsequious, amoral “Calvin Candie” (“masterful”, Leonardo DiCaprio) who owns “Broomhilda” (Kerry Washington) lovely wife of Django.
Tarantino takes a cultural leap in equating “Candyland” with the ancient Norse legend, the myth of “Vahalla” and its heroine, “Brunhilda”; Richard Wagner’s incomparable “Ring Cycle” has kept the fable pulsating for centuries.
Every actor grasps the intensity of his/her character; two years before the Civil War, slavery’s degradation is ingrained, inherited, accepted by whites and ironically many blacks; an unrecognizable Samuel L. Jackson gives a scintillating portraiture of the “ number one house slave”, “Stephen”; he is merciless with the truculent housekeepers and shamelessly brazen with his owner, Calvin Candie. Tarantino draws a succinct parallel between the two pivotal partnerships in the film; watching the subtleties, innuendos as Django sheds his slave mentality and Stephen trounces Calvin; there is a solid richness and depth exhibited in their relationships.
I have always been a fan of Quentin Tatantino; two favorites: “Pulp Fiction” and “Inglorious Basterds”; admittedly no one touches his innovation when it addresses human chaos and carnage; did he exceed the boundaries of butchery, bloodletting, multination in “Django Unchained”? Unfortunately, yes. As stunning and formidable as the performances are, the actors inimitable skills do not transcend the holocaust the viewer is exposed to.
Andy Warhol, visionary twentieth century artist, was clairvoyant in forecasting the anesthetic effect of repetitive brutality; lethal doses are administered daily by the media, numbing the senses to “man’s inhumanity to man”. “Django Unchained” glorifies bestiality, creative slaughter; taints, tarnishes and trashes the movie-going-experience.
TWO & 1/2 STARS!!