Who other than Quentin Tarantino (and maybe the Coen Brothers) would be audacious enough to have Jonah Hill cameo as a comically incompetent member of ‘The Regulators’ (a predecessor to the KKK) in their movie? That was among the thoughts that passed through my mind while watching the new trailer for Django Unchained, the second installment in what one could reference as Tarantino’s revenge fantasy revisionism of history (after Inglourious Basterds).
Django Unchained takes us back to the Antebellum South (a.k.a. pre-Civil War), as filtered through Tarantino’s imagination and molded by the Italio-westerns – better known as Spaghetti westerns – of directors like Sergio Leone (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) and Sergio Corbucci (Django – hence the title of Tarantino’s project).
The story is familiar, like a Gothic German fairy tale about a noble prince who sets out to rescue his beloved princess from the clutches of a despicable monster. Here, though, the prince is an ex-slave-turned bounty hunter (Jamie Foxx), the princess is his wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) and the monster is a playboy owner of a joint plantation and brothel, who goes by the name of Calvin Candie (Leo DiCaprio, who is clearly having a blast playing a slimy villain who smokes like a chimney).
Tarantino has populated this particular universe with his customary assortment of outrageous characters, such as Django’s oddball German partner (Basterds‘ Christoph Waltz), a Colonel Sanders lookalike (Don Johnson), and an elder house slave who is the real brains behind Candie’s operations (Samuel L. Jackson). It’s a twisted yet funny fairy tale about a dark period in American history, as only Tarantino would think (or dare) to tell.
Django Unchained is poised to surpass even the Kill Bill films in terms of how visually-exquisite it looks, courtesy of luscious outdoor shots captured by director of photography Robert Richardson (who also worked on Tarantino’s Kung Fu films) and production design by J. Michael Riva (Iron Man), among other creative players. The content, of course, is quite controversial even by Tarantino standards, but the film’s sadistic sense of humor – mixed with bloody violence – is on par with the filmmaker’s previous cinematic servings.
In other words, Django Unchained probably isn’t going to convince anyone to jump aboard the Tarantino wagon (assuming they are not already a fan). However, you can count us among those eager to see the man’s gun-slinging slavery revenge tale in action.
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