Cowboys and Controversy

Django Unchained is QT finally doing that big epic western everyone thought he was capable of doing, the one that has become the most polarizing movie of 2012. Endless discussions have covered everything from whether or not he is trivializing slavery to the film’s stark and harsh violence. Unfortunately lost in all of this debate is the fact that QT has actually managed to equal Pulp Fiction after over 20 years of making movies (who it really has been that long). Naturally the issue of the movie being great or good is something only film critics and viewers have been interested in, which is too bad since after all the whole point of this movie is to be entertaining while also being smartly made.

QT succeeds at the type of film making that almost seems to be a lost art at times, especially with dumb blockbusters more the norm these days and audiences being segmented more and more by the studios. What Tarentino did was give into his passions, which are spaghetti westerns from the 1960s and 1970s, a period that was also the last golden age of the western genre overall. The fact that he gets talented performances from his cast is another side effect of his ability to write dialogue while also benefiting from his actors’ abilities to enact what he wants. I think at this point he as much a talented director as he is a screenwriter, and I love how he uses the camera to full effect in this movie.

Not to mention the typically fantastic soundtrack, as QT knows exactly what tracks to put in his movies. The use of color is particularly strong here, whether it be blood splattering on white cotton, or Django’s stand out costumes that he wears throughout the movie, particularly a blue suit that catches everyone’s attention as he rides through a southern plantation. I love that he features the gorgeous landscapes, something that Leone, Ford, and Peckinpah all did in their westerns, too. And of course he can’t help but use Morricone, the brilliant composer who was Leone’s partner in all of his western ventures.

Now am I going to take positions on the film’s politics? Eh, not really, which is a cop out I suppose. Look I’m a white Iowan who probably has very little business commenting on the type of discussion the film has stirred up, anyways. My ancestors didn’t own slaves (they were immigrants to this country) and Iowa hardly took part in the Civil War, for that matter. Nope, what I take great issue with is those who refuse to see the movie. Look I can understand if this was The Smurfs 5 or even Transformers (which I bashed, and then saw, and then still bashed heh)-however this is not those movies. This is a work from an Oscar nominated director who has given us many critically acclaimed works.

If you want to bash his films without coming across as trolling and or clamoring for attention, just see the movie. You will have ample material then, and people might take you more seriously. And don’t give me this “I read the script” baloney, because scripts change. There is this thing called “Re-Writes.” I understand there will be people upset at this film, and I don’t have a problem with that so long as they watched the film. Go ahead then and bash it all you want. I for one want to go see it again, not just for another great theater experience but also to clarify some issues I myself had with the film, not to mention solidifying my overall rating. “DJANGO!” indeed.

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