Very Brief Notes: Django Unchained

Spoilers off the chain!

I was with it, nearing the film’s end, Unchained was up there with Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill 1 as some of Tarantino’s finest. Then Schultz shot Candie, and I found myself no longer in Candyland but back on my couch going “Hmmm, I don’t buy that”.

I’m sure if I watched the film again I’d find a number of reasons why Schultz gunny response was perfectly fitting of his character, but in the moment it didn’t ring true. I couldn’t accept that after all Schultz had gone through to rescue Hildie, this rational man would be so angered and frustrated by Candie that he’d shoot him, knowing the predicament it would leave Django in.

Worse, the rest of the film related to that decision that I couldn’t accept. Django’s subsequent capture, escape and return was marred by a storytelling point I didn’t want to be reminded of. I fell for the okie-doke and didn’t expect Django to shoot his escorts, I loved watching Tarantino explode (though for a change I didn’t think his acting was terrible), I even enjoyed the dancing horse, but they all served as reminders of Schultz’s questionable action.

I didn’t like Django returning like a super-soldier and gunning everyone down. We did see that Django was handy with a weapon, but that didn’t make him easily killing everyone in sight easier to accept. Super kill-skills just seem to me like an easy way for a story to get out of a hole.

The acting is consistently great from top to bottom. But Sammy Jackson is phenomenal, his character Stephen quickly going from comic to terrifying and back, Jackson essentially alternating roles from kitchen to dining room.


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