Knee-jerk review: "Django Unchained"

1. The D is silent, people.
2. "Audacious" is the word that comes to mind.  Over the top.
3. And the blood, it does fly and spurt and gush and splatter.  Consider yourself warned.
4. As usual, Tarantino holds his credit until after the final image, so after the last fade-to-black, audiences can get a final loud blast of cool music and then see the "Written and Directed by Quentin Tarantino" card.
5. Will Smith turned this down for something called After Earth co-starring his smug son and directed by M. Night Shymalan of all people.  We'll see how that works out for him.
6. It's probably got too many endings.  Just when you think it's over... here comes another 20 minutes.
7. We hate the lynching scene.  You'll know the one.  Way too jokey and broad for what's otherwise a dark, gritty story.  We can see the appeal of making fun of racist KKK-types, but it doesn't work.  Including Jonah Hill was a mistake.
8. Tarantino has a way with words, no doubt.  His dialogue is sterling as always.  You can see how much the actors relish those lines and long speeches.
9. Everyone's making a big deal about Don Johnson's bit part.  but we were underwhelmed.
10. We have no problem with bloody, gory shoot-outs, but we get very squeamish when it comes to hand-to-hand fighting involving cracking bones.  Why is that?
11. Dig that retro Columbia Pictures logo.
12. We're curious to learn more about how African-American audiences respond to this.  On one hand, it's clearly a populist revenge fantasy for slaves that does for racists what Inglourious Basterds did for Nazis.  But on the other hand, it's clearly got roots in seedy 1970s exploitation movies that have fun looking down on lower classes and using historical "accuracy" to allow white folks to use the N-word and sexualize the subservience of African-American slave women.
13. Some pretty random flashbacks and flashforwards, if you ask us.
14. That is one long rifle.
15. Samuel L. Jackson steals the movie and that's a tall order given the showy, scenery-chewing performances by Leonardo DiCaprio and Christoph Waltz.
16. Why make the miners Australian?  And why does Tarantino still feel the need to give himself a speaking part?
17. For us, the Tarantino gold standard remains Pulp Fiction, with Inglourious Basterds a photo-finish second.
18. The ending has narrative and structural parallels, believe it or not, with Star Wars.  Discuss amongst yourselves. 
19. The Brittle Brothers.  What a great name.
20. If you like Tarantino, go see it.

No comments:

Post a Comment