Billy Gray

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Django Unchained

In Movie Reviews on January 17, 2013 at 5:05 am

django-dicaprioWhen we first see Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, he’s riding a horsedrawn carriage topped by a big sculpted molar. Schultz is a bounty hunter posing as a dentist, but the toothy avatar might also wink at the enduring role toothaches have played as metaphor for deeper cosmic pain in movies from Citizen Kane to Affliction.

Healing is at the core of Django Unchained, a slavery revenge fantasy and Tarantino’s second straight take—after the Nazi romp Inglourious Basterds—at antic revisionist history of profound global traumas and, as importantly, the movies.

Trundling around the Deep South two years before the Civil War, Django Unchained can’t be as explicit about the corrective power of cinema as Basterds, which was littered with references to German propaganda flicks, lionized a fictional Weimar movie siren and climaxed with Nazi higher-ups being gunned down from behind the screen at a red carpet premiere. (If Basterds’ release had coincided with the Aurora theater shootings, it would have been edited beyond recognition and/or shelved for months.) Read the rest of this entry »