Django: My Take on The Movie

I had the opportunity to see Django on Sunday.  The movie has generated a ton of publicity for Quentin Tarantino based on the subject matter and the fact that Spike Lee decided to boycott the movie.  The fact that Spike Lee's recent movies have not been commercial successes could be a reason for him to interject himself into to conversation about the movie.  Some press is better than no press at all.  The movie had a serious sound track and it enhanced the plot and subject matter.  It was visually appealing also.

The movie dealt with slavery in 1858 in the United States.  The premise was that a bounty hunter kidnapped a slave previously purchased at a slave auction to help him identify three fugitives of the law.  The opening scene was bloody and the gore was pretty constant throughout the movie.  Django was released from the other chained slaves and led on a mission.  It was not his primary goal at this point and time to rescue his wife but this quest became part of the story line.  Some of his facial expressions throughout the movie could have gotten him killed if this were really slavery days.  also, his mouth could have gotten him and the bounty hunter killed on more than one occasion in the movie.

The first scene after Django was freed was unbelievable.  The bounty hunter enters a bar with Django.  First of all the locals were upset to see Django riding a horse.  Then he entered a bar and was drinking at the bar.  These actions were all forbidden at the time.  The bounty hunter subsequently shoots the Sheriff and survives 50 guns being pointed at he and Django by showing papers identifying the Sheriff as a fugitive.  I think that Django would still have been lynched in real life.

Leonardo DiCaprio played a serious role as a slave owning plantation owner.  I never knew about Mandingo fighters during the slavery era.  I thought that Mandingos were a tribe from which slaves were extracted from Africa.  The fight scene displayed in the movie was brutal and ended in death for one of the participants.  Another unwilling fighter was mauled to death by dogs after Mr. DiCaprio assessed the damage done by this slave not living up to his purchase price.  This scene was sanitized and we weren't fully exposed to the damage done by the dogs.  Mr. DiCaprio's character was believable and he relished the power he had over his slaves.

I had no problem with the use of the word Nigger in the movie.  We are talking about slave owners in the South.  Our ancestors were property and were viewed as such.  I was more offended by the role played by Samuel L. Jackson.  He had the ear of Mr. DiCaprio in the movie and exposed the plot hatched by the bounty hunter to help Django buy his wife instead of one of the Mandingo fighters.
Samuel L. Jackson played the role of the 'house nigger' to the hilt.  He suffered a timely fate at the end of the movie though. 

I thought the movie had some comedic moments.  The Klan and its aftermath are not funny at all but not being able to see out of the hoods was funny.  Also, the shootouts with Jamie taking out numerous lawmen and concerned citizens was unbelievable.  The ending was a feel good scene with the 'big house' being blown to bits and Django and his wife riding off into the sunset.  It was not a testament to race relations and it was well within Quentin Tarantino's right to make this work of fiction based on the reality of slavery in America.  My viewpoint is also tempered by the fact that slavery and human trafficking still exists today.  We can only feel sorry for our ancestors but we must proceed with the legacy of trying to maintain a standard of living in a society that is so much more than black and white issues.

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