We finally made it out to see this film yesterday. I had been anticipating the film for some time and went in with really high hopes. I can thankfully report that I walked away more than satisfied and if I had the opportunity to do so would have turned around and went right back in to see it again. This movie was so satisfyingly violent and savage throughout and I couldn’t have loved that more about it. I think the script was clever and well written, probably one of the best Tarantino has written but that is hard to say. What surprised me the most is how funny it all was. His movies have always had an element of wit to them that could make you laugh but this one was all out funny. The humor seemed to balance out all of the obscenity and ferocity of the situation in my opinion.
I have heard much said about the controversial nature of the film both with how slavery is so brutally covered and how the “N-word” is so pervasive in the film. Why though? What so many have seen as offensive I have only seen as necessary to the film he was trying to make. I despise all racial slurs, and the people that make them but this was a movie set in 1858. That word was used then with a frequency that not even modern rappers could keep up with today. I don’t see a problem with how Tarantino used it, or how he didn’t make any effort to sugarcoat slavery. Slavery was awful and brutal in this country and there is no way to truly make a film about it without getting your hands dirty. I studied history in college and my senior seminar class was specifically about slavery. Slavery happened all over the world and every race was enslaved at one point or another. The difference here is that it developed in this new country as the rest of the world was giving up on an outdated practice. Not only that but the most significant difference in this country is how it became a specifically racial issue with one specific race being subjugated into the role of slave. It was awful and unfair but it was done and what is done is done and can’t be changed. All we can do now is to learn from it, prevent it from being that way now or in the future but that has never happened. There are too many conflicting feelings from people in regards to the topic. The memory of slavery invokes anger, disappointment, shame, rage, pity, and unfortunately there are always going to be those awful people out there that get satisfaction out of it. Most of the feelings invoked by that memory are understandable but still lead to deepening the divide among us all. As for the movie I will admit I don’t think it is entirely appropriate for a white man to be the one behind camera doing all of this, but I don’t think he did anything disrespectful or outlandish.
I think the cast of this film did an excellent job. I think Christoph Waltz may have been a bit better in Inglourious Basterds but only because his performance as Colonel Hans Landa was so good I don’t think it can be topped. I think he was great in this movie and I think he has so much to offer us in the future, he is an outstanding actor. I think Jamie Foxx was great in the lead role. Leonardo DiCaprio was awesome as the vile and violently unpredictable Calvin Candie. Samuel L. Jackson was really good, as always, but I really didn’t like the role that he played despite how well he did it. Walton Goggins fits these kinds of roles a bit too well but I am a big fan of his work on The Shield and Justified. There are great cameos from Jonah Hill, Don Johnson, Tom Savini, and probably a few others I am forgetting. The one awful decision Tarantino made in this film was inserting himself into it. I think he is a great filmmaker but leaves far too much to be desired as an actor. I liked his part in Reservoir Dogs but it should have ended there. I don’t know why he is still doing this but he shouldn’t. This time around he reaches far too much and goes for an Australian accent; I shook my head at that point. He had a perfect movie in the works progressing right before my eyes and he stumbled there for a moment.
I thought this movie was absolutely incredible and I can’t wait to buy it and watch it again down the road. I’ll say the only thing that I didn’t like about the movie was the experience we had watching it in the theater. The movie has been out for a while now but there was still a good crowd for the first showing on a Saturday afternoon. However the audience was so unique. It was practically a split between African-Americans and full blown rednecks garbed in overalls, hunting camo, and aggressive beards. That kind of division really gave off an awkward vibe that we may have felt more because we somehow ended up literally sitting on a row with differing groups sitting in the opposite rows before and after us. The Rednecks made me uncomfortable, specifically because I assume they took very different things from this movie than I did. Wrong to assume I know, but those people were more like the white people in the movie and that’s unfortunate. It will better to watch the movie in the privacy of my own home or with whoever I choose to watch it with.
If you are on the fence about this one I obviously strongly recommend it. However if you aren’t cool with violence in movies or profanity this is not the movie for you. To say the very least it is about ten steps past extremely graphic and it is not for the tender-hearted. The violence is part of what make this movie great though, and in so many ways it is practically Tarantino’s calling card. This movie is long as hell with a running time of 2 hours and 45 minutes but I can say with certainty that it is well worth that time.