Here's some commentary from SHADOW AND ACT:
One S & A Reader's Take After Seeing 'Django Unchained'
December 2, 2012 10:51 AM
As I mentioned last week, media and award consideration screenings for Django Unchained start later this week; but there have already been a few advance screenings of the film for specially-invited audiences, one of whom is an LA-based filmmaker whose work weve profiled on this site, and who is also a regular reader of S & A.
He saw the film last night at a screening, with Quentin Tarantino present, and what he says I think is pretty interesting, making me even more excited (as if I wasn't already) to see the film; here you go:
"I know how anticipated this film is for a lot of Shadow and Act readers...and so I had to share this with you. Just came from a screening of Django. I went in wanting to hate that movie. Based on the script I read back in the summer of 2011 I was not optimistic. This film deals with slavery one of the ugliest atrocities America ever committed. To show too little would make it come off safe like the Help. To show too much would make it come off as being excessive. Like the use of the N-word in most of Tarantino's films."
"From the first frame, it is obvious that the film is a homage to spaghetti westerns like The Good The bad and the ugly. Images of African American men in chains is hard to take. It triggered in me, thoughts on just how bad it was for us during that time. The powerlessness, the victimization, the demeaning, all lead you to hating this movie. But you can't look away. Instead you take this ride with Django. He transforms from a slave to a free man to a gun slinger and Jamie pulls it off effortlessly."
"The acting all around was stellar. This all star team of actors definitely showed up. Leonardo did his thing as Candy. I wouldn't call him a villain, slavery was probably the villain, characters like candy were just men doing business. I guess that's why it is so impacting. Realizing that it isn't a personal affront. A black person was no different than a cow or goat."
"I digress... The character that stands head and shoulders above everyone else is Stevens, played by Sam Jackson. Talk about crabs in a bucket. His character reminded me that some blacks kept blacks down harder than anybody."
"As westerns go, this film is more action based which makes sense. At 160 minutes its long but it moves unlike the sleep inducing film Lincoln and Order. There are some lighter moments, most I wasn't laughing at but the audience seemed to get in to. I couldn't let my guard down enough to enjoy those moments,too busy thinking about what my ancestors dealt with that allowed me to sit here, educated, and able to write this."
"At its foundation, the film is about a man doing what ever it takes to get his woman. Like I said, I wanted to hate this film but I can't. It is a solid piece that does not let whites off the hook. I saw it in an audience of 95% white and they seemed to have realized just how f*cked up slavery was. During the q and a after, Tarantino admitted how f*cked up.slavery was and how it still affects this country."
"it's a polarizing film that isn't for everybody. Based on the discussions thus far, the film will trigger even more discussion. Tarantino said that there are thousands of great stories to tell from that era and hopes this will lead to more. I don't know if I want to see too many films dealing with slavery but with Django, black folks will have someone to root for, that is a straight up bad ass."
So does his review change the minds for anyone who had any doubts, or are they still there?