Untangling Django

Django Unchained
How far would you go for revenge?

I went with Deric to catch Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained at the cinema yesterday. Deric has always been a huge fan of Tarantino’s movie so he has been looking forward to seeing the movie ever since it was released overseas way back in December last year.

It’s really sad how it took such a long time to reach our shores. Not really sure who’s to blame for that – whether it’s our censorship board who has trouble letting the movie out into the open due to the excessive amount of violence and swearing, or whether it was just the ones who actually produced and distributed the movie themselves, who failed to appreciate the importance of the Asian market.

Well, anyway, the movie was, as I had expected, the usual fare of violence and blood spilling and all that. But, as with all Tarantino’s other movies, it had a brilliant plot, and I believe the main beauty of the film can be found in the way that the story was told.

I also felt at many junctures in the movie that the film could potentially be taken very offensively, especially by those of African-American descent. I wonder if any such fuss was kicked up internationally. I’m quite sure some amount of discussion or debate would have been sparked as a result of this film.

The sheer timing of it all, too, since not too long ago we also saw the release of the movie Lincoln which also has at the heart of its theme the issue of slavery amongst African-Americans.  I honestly wonder why people are picking up this old and rather dangerous topic at a time where America as a nation is as far from such atrocities as it’s ever been.

It’s a memorable movie, no doubt, but viciously violent and I feel as though it gnaws deeply into the soul in odd places you would not know existed otherwise. I feel as though part of my conscience was seared in merely witnessing such violence as well as a lack of compassion and love for other fellow human beings. It’s an interesting setting for a story, certainly, but it’s also sort of disturbing.

A dark, sinister sort of cloud shrouds the movie, such that even though I’m glad the hero won, I do question if I agree with the means by which he did so. Gone are the days of being able to cheer along with the hero of a film just because he/she is downright good and we in the audience feel that a happy ending is truly what the hero deserves.

Would I recommend that others watch this movie? Yes and no. Yes, because it’s in a way a work of art, obviously carefully crafted and well put together. No, because on so many counts it’s like adding filth to your mind and soul at a time when we can fairly easily find such harshness in great abundance as we  step out into the world every day.

* Image sourced from http://blogs.walkerart.org/filmvideo/2013/02/01/smash-cuts-django-unchained/.

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