Weekly rewind: January 3
BY MICHAEL SMITH World Scene Writer
Thursday, January 03, 2013
1/03/13 at 4:56 AM
For expanded review, visit tulsaworld.com/movies.
Rating: (on a scale of zero to four stars)
The "spaghetti Western," a brand of Italian 1960s cinema that reimagined the American West through moral ambiguity and brutal violence made famous through films like Clint Eastwood's "Man With No Name" trilogy, is one of Quentin Tarantino's favorite film genres.
The film buff/filmmaker's new film "Django Unchained" is both an homage to these and other exploitation movies, and yet it is undeniably made in his own style. Much like Tarantino turned the World War II movie on its head with "Inglorious Basterds" (Jewish characters kill Hitler, for goodness sakes), historical events are revised to effect here as well.
"Django Unchained" is a Tarantino "Southern," for lack of a better term to describe this revenge tale set in pre-Civil War Mississippi with slavery its most prevalent theme.
There will be some manner of discomfort on the part of audiences experiencing the director's ongoing cinematic relationship with people targeted because of their race or ethnicity, and there should be.
Slavery isn't pretty. Neither are bounty hunting, hangings or shootouts with body counts in the dozens. Neither is the use of the N-word, uttered 100-plus times during the film, and quite simply necessary to depict the slave trade and those engaged in its operation.
What makes Tarantino's film one of the best of 2012 is that he is as unafraid of making this subject matter confoundingly entertaining as he is unapologetic at depicting Americans at their worst.
He confronts the reality of slavery in the U.S. by looking at an ugly past with a modern viewpoint.
"Django. D-J-A-N-G-O. The D is silent," explains the slave-on-a-mission played by Jamie Foxx, speaking to a fellow bar patron played by Franco Nero - the Italian movie star of 100-plus movies including 1966's "Django," in which he played the gunslinger of the title.
|Movie ||Rating (on 4 scale)|
|Django Unchained |
|Lincoln || |
|Wreck-it Ralph || |
|Monsters Inc. 3-D || |
|Silver Linings Playbook |
|Flight || |
|Life of Pi || |
|Rise of the Guardians |
|Les Miserables || |
|Jack Reacher || |
|Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away |
|Hitchcock || |
|Twilight: Breaking Dawn, Part 2 || |
|Skyfall || |
|This is 40 |
|The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey |
|The Guilt Trip |
Christoph Waltz and Jamie Foxx star in "Django Unchained." COURTESY / The Weinstein Company