An Evil Movie
“Django Unchained” is an evil movie, springing from the swamp-mind of an evil person, only to be enjoyed by evil people. The wickedness of this film is matched only by the laughs of the vapid, the stupid, and the amoral members of the audience. Shame on those of you who do not share this sense of outrage, and a pox on the houses of those who enjoyed it.
I say this as a person who has delighted in violent media since childhood, and as a person who has had a glimpse of what suffering really means. I say this as a person who scoffs at words like “offensive”, and as a person who, before this week, did not believe there was such a thing as “over the line.” How wrong I was. I say this as a Tarantino fan, a Dicaprio fan, a Jackson fan and a Waltz fan. It will take some time before I can call myself such a fan again.
I have laughed at jokes that contain the kind savagery and bigotry found in “Django Unchained.” The tinge of guilt I felt for laughing at such jokes does not acquit me in any sense. But these jokes take approximately seven seconds to tell. Anything longer would send a person into a comedic black hole; an inescapable cauldron of callousness. Quentin Tarantino, and many others, have happily plunged themselves into this very hole. “Django Unchained” is an evil joke that lasts nearly three hours. I shudder to think at the kind of person who would enjoy this, and shudder even more when realizing how many such people exist.
“Django Unchained” takes the worst nightmares of slavery, things that really happened, and blends them with patented Tarantino silliness. A bold idea, I suppose. Stranger things have been attempted, and who better to make this attempt then the master of the obscene? But it simply does not work. The sadism in this movie is utterly pornographic, as is the 8.8 IMDB rating for this foul farce. A movie like this makes it difficult to be a humanist, and makes it easier to understand just how wretched humans can be.
The reason extreme violence in films can be effective, and perhaps even therapeutic, is that it can be placed in the proper context. Take a movie like “The Passion Of The Christ.” Some people felt violated by the film’s violence, which is understandable. But a convincing case can be made that the crucifixion of Jesus Christ was and is the most important thing to ever happen on this planet. Whoever Jesus was, his life and death mean quite a bit to quite a few. Take another example of a endlessly bloody film, “Saving Private Ryan.” If a word like “hell” has any real world meaning at all, it means a war of this sort. But this was a hell that had to be endured, for if it wasn’t, a worse hell was the alternative. “Django Unchained”, and the audience reaction to it, is a sobering reminder as to how certain hells can be found in this life, not the next one.
There is scene in “The Basketball Diaries” where a wasted Jim (Dicaprio) has a dream that he murders his classmates with a shotgun. His friends inaudibly cheer him on, and Jim inaudibly shouts his ferocious intentions. I like this scene very much. I have some experience with being a frustrated young man, and all frustrated young men know that dreams, thoughts, fantasies and hallucinations of this sort, go with with the territory. But we are not to do these things, and we are not to enjoy them to the point where we begin to view an act like this as legitimate possibility. A scene like this is akin to hitting a punching bag. We are frustrated, we need to get our angst out of our system, so we punch the bag or think of or watch intense shit. The angst passes, and we get on with our lives. “Django” has no value of this kind at all. “Django” is not therapy. It requires therapy.
It surprises no one that Tarantino would make a movie like this. Anyone even loosely familiar with his work knows what they are getting into when they purchase a Tarantino ticket. He has danced with evil since “Reservoir Dogs,” and his films imply that an unhealthy mind is at work behind the lens. Now, the jury is out on this man. Tarantino doesn’t flirt with evil. He is evil.
This movie is a deep and festering wound on Tarantino’s record, and on the records of Leonardo Dicaprio, Samuel L. Jackson, Christoph Waltz and Roger Ebert, whose kind review of this movie is unforgivable. These men made an enormous error at best, and committed an appalling creative sin at worst. Right now, I default more towards the latter.
As I see it, America has had two great crimes against humanity to atone for. First, was the genocide of the Native Americans. Second, was the existence of a massive slavery machine that exploited African Americans. These calamities are not fit for public amusement and humor. I was told the jokes mentioned earlier alone with a friend in the dark; exactly where this material belongs.
The world is half beautiful, and half horrible. Tarantino blended these halves with this sickening film. The result is beyond insulting. Movies about slavery should be made so we can better understand it. But to approach the subject of slavery with anything other than a somber sense of guilt is unacceptable. Call me uptight. Call me a hypocrite. Call me too politically correct. Call me what you like. It’s nothing compared to what we can call “Django Unchained” and the violators who created it.