I've not seen many films this year however there's been a few films that I've wanted to watch and made the effort to watch such as, The Impossible and Lincoln but the film that I wanted to see above all others was Django Unchained but was it worth the wait?
Come closer and hear my take on a highly anticipated but very controversial epic of a movie....
As stated previously, I will only be reviewing a few films this year so I've decided to cherry pick what I see and this was a very sweet cherry indeed!
The plot is simple. Django (Jamie Fox) is a newly bought slave who is set free by a native of Dusseldorf Germany Dr Shultz (Christoph Waltz) and is offered $75 and legal freedom if he will travel with him as a bounty hunter and identify three ruthless killers who happen to be brothers.
Interestingly Spike Lee's production company is called "50 Acres & A Mule" which is what a freed slave received.
Django agrees, and thus starts an epic journey that is over 150mins on screen. However, it does not feel like a long film, rather it takes you through all emotions.
On their journey they run into Don Johnson who runs a plantation. The dialogue between Johnson, Waltz and Fox is superb and though the use of the N word is prolific, it is used at a time when it was invented and just goes to show that when ignorance is left unchecked it spreads and becomes the norm. People, always seek wisdom and shun ignorance, this is how we grow....
Another character the Bounty Hunting heroes encounter is Calvin Candie (Leonardo De Caprio) who runs the fourth biggest plantation in the South of the country nicknamed Candy Land. If you're a student of my reviews, you will know that pre Civil War times the Southern part of America's wealth was made from the maintenance of the slave trade. With this in mind, the South had no desire to end the lucrative trade and why would they when we put currency above people.
On Calvin's plantation is a House slave called Stephen who is excellently played by Samuel L Jackson. His character is so ‘lol’ funny however, a twitter follower, @USDannyDyerFan, stated “Saw it last Wednesday. SLJ has been giving me nightmares ever since. #SleepDeprived” then followed up with “I can't remember when I was last disturbed by such a movie villain.”
Now to comment on what allegedly the film maker Spike Lee had to say about the film. In an interview with Vibe magazine Spike said he would not see the film, explaining "All I'm going to say is that it's disrespectful to my ancestors. That's just me...I'm not speaking on behalf of anybody else."
Spike later tweeted, "American Slavery Was Not a Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western. It Was A Holocaust. My ancestors are slaves. Stolen from Africa. I will honour them."
Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam said he thought the movie was "preparation for race war." My view having watched it is this.
My opinion is based on watching the film and as I have mentioned before there is a difference between a film that is "based on a true story" and "a true story" and then there is "fiction." Django Unchained is not true or based on a true story but is total pulp fiction (do you remember my breakdown of what pulp fiction means? No then read my review on The Raven or was it John Carter of Mars which should be in our archive section I do believe).
Django Unchained is a wonderfully written masterpiece that deserves to be celebrated and garnered with the highest awards man can give.
It is not historically factual and neither does it need to be. Its strength is that it is a great story based around pre emancipation days which does depict a period of history that wasn't pleasant for people of African descent.
I loved it and could easily venture back into the cinema with a cheese and pickle sarnie to watch it again because it's brilliant.
Without spoiling your viewing pleasure I will say this; do not watch this film thinking "good guys and bad guys" rather put yourself in the period of the time in history depicted and then you will understand it better, and feel less guilty if you’re white and less angry if you’re black.
I feel people in this period of time did things that the climate encouraged until President Lincoln came along and changed things that resulted in Americans fighting against Americans until the road to freedom was built.
Finally if I could be so bold as to recommend three films to watch then I would say watch Django Unchained followed by Lincoln then watch the DVD of the conspirators to get the full picture of American History X.