Arts & Events

Campus Films presents: Tarantino’s Django Unchained

The very first “R” rated movie I saw was Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, at the ripe age of 12. Please do not tell my parents.

Tarantino taught me with that movie not to take cinema at its face value and that a movie’s trailer is likely to outline the direction of the film, but not reveal its ending.

In Django Unchained, Tarantino captures the same essence that makes his previous movies so provoking. Starring Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson, the movie follows the journey of a bounty hunter and his former-slave companion across the pre-Civil War south.

Never failing to pay homage to both his previous films and other movies he finds honorable, Tarantino packs this film with all of the quirks for which he is famous.

Discussing difficult and uncomfortable topics is often an area where film excels. Django Unchained addresses the unfortunate nature of slavery and racism head-on with humor and sarcasm to great effect.

It is possible that this movie neutralizes racial tension by distracting the viewer with the fantastic acting of DiCaprio and Waltz—although it is more likely the over-the-top, ridiculous approach Tarantino takes to any film project.

This could be a very uncomfortable movie. There are plenty of scenes that, if not acted sarcastically enough, would come across as solely offensive.

The star of the film, or for that matter all Tarantino films, is the witty dialogue delivered through excellent cinematic style.

Every scene feels thoughtful with the lighting, camera angle and costume all designed to maximize the effect of the acting.

In keeping with his other work, Tarantino uses every second of screen time to tell the story, adding dialogue and visuals that help enforce the message of the film and not just as time-wasters or plot-fillers. The actors do a wonderful job of infusing their lines with an intensity that matches the gravity of the scene.

Although I very much enjoy Tarantino’s style, this movie bordered on saturation. Every scene in many ways feels reverential and like a stereotype of his previous films, as if Tarantino was hired to direct a film mocking his own style. Moreover, the plot often felt like the vehicle for the actors to be verbose and comical.

As a cautionary note for potential viewers who have never seen a Tarantino film, this movie contains vulgar language, lewd content both physical and verbal, and deals very bluntly with one of the most difficult topics in America.

Please do not let this warning hold any potential audience member back from seeing the film, rather use it as a note to be adequately prepared, unlike myself, for the first time seeing a Tarantino film.

This film delivers more intrigue and clever one-liners than any other movie shown this semester—save for Pulp Fiction.

Come see this film to laugh at an unfunny topic, to see Jonah Hill ride a horse, and to see how a movie does not need explosions to capture the audience’s attention.