DJANGO UNCHAINED, the new movie by Quentin Tarantino is playing to mixed reviews. Whites will view and review this movie one-way and Blacks will view it another way. It is not a traditional film and it confronts Black images and stereotypes head on. It forces an honest discussion on America’s race relations.
Jamie Foxx is distinguishing himself as a brilliant actor. This is a movie about slavery combined with a cowboy theme or is a cowboy movie with a slavery theme. The movie has brought about argument from Spike Lee saying that it is an insult to slavery. Spike is wrong and if he would see the movie, he might change his mind.
This movie motivates to make you uncomfortable. Some of the scenes are painful to watch and you might look away. It is not a tale of a noble slave that is downtrodden forever and finds his peace down by the riverside. It is not of a runaway slave who gets caught to have his foot cut off. It is not about a slave who becomes educated and comes back home to lead his people to church and the one room schoolhouse. It does not honor slavery or the slave. This movie speaks loud to the horrors and inhumanity of slavery. This is a movie about an angry Black man who got even.
The Jamie Foxx character is Django , the D is silent, who turns bounty hunter partnered and trained by a German gentlemen, played by Christopher Waltz, who guises himself as a dentist. Django is a man on the hunt for his beautiful wife who was severely beaten on her back and he and she were separated at a slave auction.
Eventually he finds her and buys her freedom. He learns the craft of bounty hunting and becomes one of the best. The cruelties, the inhumanity of slavery is shown in raw forms from strong black buck men fighting in the parlor for entertainment for white gentlemen to the point of death, as they sipped their liquor. There is a scene so brutal that it is hard to watch where a Mandingo fighter says he can’t do it anymore and is trapped in a tree. His master, Calvin Candie the plantation owner of “Candyland”, is superbly played by Leonardo DiCaprio, says he has not gotten his money worth, which is $500 and the fighter only won 3 fights. He wants more. He turns the dogs loose and they literally eat the slave alive.
Samuel Jackson is convincing as an Uncle Tom, mastermind, who says he is harder on blacks than any white man dare. He was an Uncle Tom par excellent with all of its contradictions.
The movie captures the cruelty of slavery, with the brutal punishments that ranged from minor mishaps to the white man’s entertainment to black women being called upon as comfort women and stripped for the fun of it. The movie destroys stereotypes and answers for me a lingering question. With all of the physical cruelties done to the slave, when did somebody get mad and fight back. Django captures the slave historical tortures that may not be well known, such as the face-mask and the hot box. Racism is exploited in the movie and the social class statuses that still exist in America are showcased ranging from the refined gentleman, master of the house, to the redneck that was in charge of slave beatings to slavery social status from the field worker to the house servant.
Django is a different kind of Black hero. He is the slave who won. He got his woman and he rode off in the sunset just like in the average cowboy movie. The slave conquered. This portrays a totally different image for Hollywood’s Black slave. And he killed his enemy along the way. The movie is exceedingly violent. Django is being labeled as comic in some parts and called “pop entertainment”. Surely Tarantino took creative liberty but indeed he made the point too. The movie is great for the Black psychic no matter your station in life. The movie is a particular stimulus for the African American male. The controversy of the movie is that Blacks to this day still feel the pains of slavery. And Whites still feel the guilt to this day. Django puts it in your face, like it or not.
Django, the D is silent. And if you are a Black male wear your cowboy hat to the movie. You will tip it as you leave the show.
What did you think of Django?