First of all, I shall apologise to my fervent Colombia supporters – this post is by no means Colombia-related. I just needed to write about this! You have the right to know about something that is so good! The only piece of news that I can stretch to Colombia is that the Colombian cinemas are quite good at releasing blockbuster titles not much later than their premiers (only just more than a month after USA is really not bad).
Django was set in the beautiful landscape of Western desserts and Brokeback Mountain type snow-capped ranges in America. However the recurrent theme of social struggle between black and white people safely removed the film from being an old school cliché or a Western Clint Eastwood remake. Bold typography from the kind of provincial trashy second tier TV production gave a self-deprecating sarcastic balance to the solemn topic.
The heaviness of violent racism is conveyed lightheartedly through your standard witty Tarantino dialogues and funny ‘in your face’ stunts such as Jamie Foxx’s plastic-looking bright blue 18th century courtly dress. Great attention was given to the details that portrayed the illiterate black population of the time. Comical anecdotes tell the stories of the niggers who couldn’t speak properly. DiCaprio joked about the different accents in the South and North of America in the 19th century, inferring the differences between their attitudes towards slavery and political views.
First class actors and their convincing accents just pulled the whole film together. Some of the leading actors like Samuel Jackson and Foxx showcased what being a great actor is about – by completely living their characters so you forget who they are in real life or what they have done in their previous films (you wouldn’t have recalled that Foxx was the lawyer in the Abiding Citizen!).
Cinematography really helped sharpen the characters, from the close-up shots of the sly smiles of ‘Monsieur Candy’, to the framing of Django’s eyes that reveals his fear and his suffering of because of his ethnicity.
Tarantino unveiled a world that had terrorised the black population with severe injustice, a world in which you were condemned even before you were born and your only mistake was the colour of your skin. The social status of the nigger in the south was utterly, explicitly, depicted, showing that in the south they were even lower than dogs. Their lives weren’t worth more than the Mandingo fights that they could win or the pleasure they could give the white privileged.
Django has kept Tarantino’s trademark of bloody juicy organs splashing out of people by hunting rifles. But the blood spilt in Django was not any other blood. It was fully loaded with symbolism. Tarantino employed a lot of red on white. Blood spilt onto the white cotton field, against the stark white walls, on the white cake that was eaten in Calvin Candy’s ‘big house’, and on the white coronation on his waistcoat. Even the clean white shirt that the freed Bloomhilda wore in the end was no simple coincidence. The blood spilt was not only for the main story line – Django’s search for his wife, but it was also the blood that was split in the civil war that led to emancipation.
Django showed the maturity of Tarantino, departing from just the fictional violent gangster entertainment that he is famous for. A film weighed down by the heavy subject of the historical burden of servitude of a nation, on top of the regular Tarantino gruesome blood filled scenes, is definitely not for the lighthearted! Tarantino really nailed it this time!