Thursday, February 14, 2013

Django Unchained (Rhoades)

 “Django Unchained”
Is Tarantino’s Southern

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Quentin Tarantino worked in a video store before he made it as a film director. There he was exposed to all kinds of movies genres – from comedies to science fiction to horror films. So it’s not surprising that he chooses to combine genres in his latest grindhouse outing, “Django Unchained.”
A fan of “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” and “Mandingo,” Tarantino blends them. A western in which slavery and cotton replace Injuns and gold.
Film and literary critics call this a “mash-up.” Tarantino prefers to call this spaghetti western set in the Deep South a “southern.”
The director talked with Will Smith and other black movie stars about the role of Django (“The D is silent”) but settled on Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx who grew up in Texas and knows how to ride a horse.
The plot is simple: A gunslinging dandy named Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) rescues Django (Foxx) from slavery to get him to identify a couple of bad guys with a bounty on their heads. In return, he will help Django rescue his wife (Kerry Washington) who was kidnapped to be a pony at an anything-goes plantation owned by dastardly Calvin Candie (Leonardo diCaprio with a Southern drawl).
So Django straps on a six-shooter and rides out with his benefactor to right wrongs. As Django says about his new bounty-hunting profession, “Kill white people and get paid for it? What's not to like?”
As usual, Tarantino features a blast-from-the-past array of his favorite actors. In “Django Unchained” you will glimpse Don Johnson, Bruce Dern, Robert Carradine, Dennis Christopher, Michael Parks, James Remar, Tom Wopat, and Franco Nero. As well as appearances by Samuel L. Jackson, Jonah Hill, and a cameo by himself.
Franco Nero starred in Sergio Caorbucci’s 1966 spaghetti western “Django,” an inspiration for Tanatino’s film. In the original version, the hero is caught in a shootout between Mexican bandits and the KKK. But the new film deals with slavery head-on.
Tarantino said he wanted “to do movies that deal with America’s horrible past with slavery and stuff but do them like spaghetti westerns, not like big issue movies. I want to do them like they're genre films, but they deal with everything that America has never dealt with because it's ashamed of it.”
Tarantino enjoys rewriting history in films like “Inglorious Basterds” and “Django Unchained.” As he puts it, “You know how things are going to go in most films. Every once in a while films don’t play by the rules. It’s liberating when you don’t know what’s happening next … I thought, What about telling these kinds of stories my way — rough and tough but gratifying at the end?”
You can find “Django Unchained” shootin’ it up this week at the Tropic Cinema.
As plantation owner Calvin Candie says, “Gentlemen, you had my curiosity. But now, you have my attention.”
Yes, with “Django Unchained,” Quinton Tarantino has our attention.

No comments: