Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Genius of Django Unchained

“In Django Unchained, some of the most savage incidents in Mandingo are ratcheted up to an excruciating pitch, which may be what it takes to discomfort a contemporary film audience inured to violence. The scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. believes that one scene, which literally puts the blood back into bloodhounds, is among the most ‘devastatingly effective’ to be found ‘in any representation of the horrors of slavery.’ That scene is unwatchable, which is the point. And the bad guys of Django aren’t only whites. Candie’s head house slave, a demonic Uncle Tom, has been accurately described by Samuel L. Jackson, the actor who plays him, as ‘the most despicable black motherfucker in the history of the world.’ He is so politically incorrect and so repellent that Jackson seems to have frightened away Oscar and Golden Globe voters alike from giving his profusely shaded characterization of abject villainy, an Iago refracted through centuries of African-American history, the recognition it deserves. There’s nothing like it in American movies.”

Frank Rich