This is a spoiler-free review. Tune in soon for a review so full of spoilers, you’ll cry.
Let me get this off my chest: I loved the film, but this wasn’t my favorite from Quentin. Much like comparing Hattori Hanzo swords, if you’re gonna compare Tarantino films, you compare it to every other film made by a man… that wasn’t made by Quentin Tarantino. His films are in their own league, and although Django wasn’t my favorite, it’s still one of the best and most enjoyable films I’ve seen since Inglourious Basterds.
Django has everything we’ve come to expect from Tarantino: biting dialogue, a riveting story, and lots of violence, both gratifying to watch and difficult to watch. I usually can take Tarantino’s violent scenes in strides because it’s fun. Kill Bill gives us caricatures with stumpy limbs spewing blood everywhere and Inglourious Basterds gives us a startlingly satisfying comeuppance for Hitler and his cronies. With Django, of course we get a satisfying revenge story, but to be honest, the violence that Django enacts almost doesn’t feel like enough.
While in Kill Bill we see the horrible and treacherous brutalities that are enacted upon Beatrix, it isn’t real. And in Inglourious Basterds, we are spared actually seeing any prisoners of concentration camps. But in Django, we see real and sickening brutality towards slaves. Does it go as far as it could? Certainly not. It only shows small glimpses of what slaves endured in America. However, it’s the hardest thing I’ve had to watch in a Tarantino film. You are face to face with real violence in a real past.
In the end, you cheer for the hero, you revel in the revenge, and you replay the brilliant dialogue in your head. But throughout the film and when I left the theater, I felt sick to my stomach. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but I’m saying be prepared to watch some Tarantino violence like you haven’t seen before. Tamer than it could be, yes, but nonetheless horrifying in its realness.