I think I’m finally starting to get Quentin Tarantino. I think somewhere, way back when, Tarantino was profoundly impacted by an injustice. Maybe it was a bully stealing his lunch money, or maybe something worse. Whatever the reason, the 10-year-old boy inside of him clearly feels the need to right a wrong. And like any 10-year-old boy, he wants to right that wrong with as much violence and bloodshed as possible. Whether it’s a fighter who wants one last score, a bride attacked at her wedding, or Nazi hunters, Quentin Tarantino wants justice. This time, it’s for slaves.
Django (Jamie Foxx) is a slave in the South two years before the Civil War. His only goal is to reunite with his wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington). He teams up with a quirky bounty hunter King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) who is currently on the trail of two murderous criminals. Together Django and Schultz carve a bloody swath through the South until they find themselves at the plantation of the dubious Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio).
Does that not seem like enough plot for two hours and forty-five minutes of movie? Well, throw in a minute for every shooting, stabbing, beating, whipping, explosion and blood letting, and it’s just about right. Slavery is not funny. Violence isn’t particularly funny either, but there is something about Tarantino’s treatment of the touchiest subjects that makes you want to cheer. Yes, he paints with a broad brush. Yes, the violence is beyond the pale. Yes, the sublime strays to the ridiculous. But all the while I just keep picturing Tarantino behind the camera re-imagining history and whispering to himself, This is so cool! If you like his style, this is another winner.
It’s an 8.