Django Unchained – first look review

Posted: December 16, 2012 in Movies
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Django UnchainedBy Peter Bradshaw @ The Guardian

Quentin Tarantino‘s brilliant and brutal revenge western is a wildly exciting return to form: a thrilling adventure in genre and style climaxing in a bizarre and nightmarish scenario in a slave plantation in 1858.

The movie is managed with Tarantino’s superb provocation and audacity, with a whiplash of cruelty and swagger of scorn.

It is superbly acted by Christoph Waltz, Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington, Leonardo DiCaprio and, particularly, Samuel L Jackson, who creates a masterpiece with his chilling character Stephen, the grey, stooping servant-elder to DiCaprio’s unspeakable slave-owner Calvin Candie.

Just to make liberals everywhere uneasy, Tarantino and Jackson make Stephen the biggest, nastiest “Uncle Tom” ever: utterly loyal to his white master, and severe in his management of the below-stairs race in the Big House. He fixes everyone with a chillingly shrewd, malevolent stare made even more disquieting by an unsettling Parkinson’s disease tremor — an inspired touch.

Stephen is overwhelmed with disgust for uppity racial politics (though that isn’t how he phrases it) and he and Tarantino drop the satirical N-bomb, targeted with sadistic tactlessness and muscular bad taste at the white man’s Vichyite collaborators in the Old South.

Slavery is a subject on which Hollywood is traditionally nervous and reticent. Perhaps it takes a film unencumbered with good taste to tackle it. Lars Von Trier’s Manderlay was one.

Here is another.

Continue Reading At The Guardian

 

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