|Poster via IMPAwards.com|
Django Unchained feels like a movie we should have gotten a long time ago. Hollywood's reluctance to deal frankly with race and the history of black/white relations in America is disappointing for many reasons, but the main one has to be that we too often miss out on the simple pleasure of watching black cowboys battle slaveowners. There are some films along these lines, but not many, and few this high profile. Quentin Tarantino gave us another kind of guilty catharsis in Inglourious Basterds, and at first glance this is cut from the same cloth; a brutally violent exploitation picture about the oppressed taking revenge on bigots, but given a good amount of dramatic weight and narrative complexity. It's not exactly a redressed remake, though, and while Basterds was more about images of violence, Django draws its power from a brutal and uncompromising picture of the ugliness of American slavery. By presenting this material in action/exploitation dress, Tarantino lets this material reach people who wouldn't be caught dead at a respectful biopic of Harriet Tubman.