Why can't Quentin Tarantino's characters speak for themselves?by James McAuley / January 17, 2013 / Leave a comment
The trouble with Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino’s latest flight of violent fantasy, is that it’s never quite clear how seriously to take it. As Tarantino told the Daily Telegraph six years ago: “I want 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.”
Django Unchained is exactly such a film, and the dissonance between its grave subject matter and its camp representation is its strength. It follows the freed slave Django (Jamie Foxx) and the German bounty hunter Dr King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) as they enact their bloody vengeance on the sadistic, slave-owning power elite in the American antebellum South. But it’s not quite a “big issue movie”: arms and legs fly across the screen as jokes are cracked, and blood spews forth like water in a kind of dark, farcical comedy.