It is FAR from perfect. I could make a considerable list of things I wish he'd done differently, or better, and yeah, it could have been trimmed by at least ten minutes. But that it exists at all is astounding. A simple story of a man seeking to rescue his wife from monsters. We've seen it countless times. Except this man is black, and the monstrosity underpins the single most persistent and attractive mythology in American history, as measured by GWTW's adjusted box office.
Viewed through this lens, it is hard to feel anything other than a kind of awe that this thing exists. There are maybe five filmmakers in the world who could have done it, and the other four didn't want to. A black director would probably have been too close to the subject--he actually would have to have been BETTER than Tarantino to pull this off--all the technical skills, and the writing skills, but sufficiently disconnected to maintain emotional distance...but simultaneously channel a volcano of emotions.
Hard to find.
I don't know how "good" DJANGO is. I think it is totally of a piece with the rest of Tarantino's oeuvre, but in an odd way more personal than most of his output. The man obviously grew up around black people, and simultaneously has a slight...remove...from the typical flow of human emotions. Is a bit of an "outsider" enough that he sees the human experience through a lens, and therefore doesn't fully associate with either side of this madness. That's apparently what it took to wrap his head around four hundred years of bullshit and come up with something like this.
Flawed? You bet. Unique? You bet. Was I hypnotized? You bet. Will I see it again? Ya think?
One of the best films of 2012, easily. But boy oh boy, is it not for every taste. Violent as hell, but not a fraction as violent as the institution it deconstructs. As a simple revenge fable, a romance, western, a Tarantino mash-up or a revisionist history that will...ummm...appeal to certain quadrants of the population and utterly appall others, DJANGO UNCHAINED is simply smashing entertainment. Excessive, overlong, self-indulgent...and masterful. A B+ at dead minimum. And in the right mood, virtually singular.
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