Django unchained has to be the most controversial film to enter into 2013. Directed and Written by Quentin Tarantino who is known for Kill Bill vol 1 and 2, Pulp Fiction, From Dusk Till Dawn and many more. He is known for his unconventional storytelling devices.
I had seen the trailers but I paid it no mind. After watching ‘Roots’ I was apprehensive about seeing bloody bodies with open wounds. I am the type that cannot watch horror movies with arms being chopped off and etc. However, I was encouraged by a friend to watch this movie. I trusted my friend’s suggestion. I mean if someone told you they watched a movie two times in one day…that would be a good enough reason for you to go ahead and watch the movie, right?
I do not want to ruin it for those who want to watch it but I want to give enough information for those who have not yet watched or who have. When I started watching it I was drawn to Christoph Waltz character called Dr King Scultz. Who I believe brought the story line to a pivotal point. I did not have to get half way into the movie to realise why the movie caused so much controversy.
Spike Lee was the first to voice his concern about the movie only he has not watched the movie. He tweeted: “American Slavery Was Not A Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western. It Was A Holocaust. My Ancestors Are Slaves. Stolen From Africa. I Will Honor Them.” He spoke his mind on the interview with Vibe. Now Spike Lee is a Director and Writer known for films such as Malcolm X, Do the right thing and Inside man. And it is not a hidden fact that there has been ongoing tension between the two directors. Yet everyone wants to know: what’s your problem Spike?
So what is his problem? Well, it is the same problem most critics had with this movie. The over-using controversial language ( the N word), the racial slurs, and the blatant disrespect to American slavery. Now on the other shoe Samuel L Jackson defends the movie. He states “Did they have another name to call the (black) people they were talking about at the time? If you’re going to deal with the language of the time, you deal with the language of the time. And that was the language of the time. I grew up in the South. I heard ‘n**ger’ all my life. I’m not disturbed by it” Watch this interview to hear further.
I thought this was a great article that explained the issue of the use of the N word. “In the years following slavery, the n-word became a reminder of slavery. It was a way to let the black race know that just because they were emancipated it did not mean that they were equal to whites.”
When it is put this way, it is clear to see why this movie is controversial and why it is hard to look past the context.
“These people are usually black scholars, affluent black people and black people who have experienced the horrors of racism in the 1960’s and remember what it meant when a racist white person used the n-word to degrade them. These people see the black race’s acceptance of the n-word as self-degradation rather than empowerment.”
And finally that point was raised. The article further explains the different perspectives on the issue.
What do I think?
I watched the movie and I did feel uncomfortable. There was something inside of me that felt it was wrong. The entertainment side (Or cinematography) is was what struck the balance for me. In my opinion Quentin is a talented director and so it was a pleasure to watch in that sense. But the content did not sit well with me, the type of characters used in the story line did not sit right with me. Although my favourite character was Dr Scultz. His character in my opinion brought a sense of justice and balance to the entire story line. I did not know how to feel about Django played by Jamie Foxx neither did I know how to feel about Broomhilda played by Kerry Washington. I did however, despise Calvin Candie played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Stephen played by Samuel L Jackson. The character that brought the most controversy. Overall the movie, brought the issue of the sensitivity of race to the forefront and the controversy acts as the viral marketing for the film.
However YOU go out and see it and decide for yourself whether this movie is controversial or just another senseless movie.