Saturday, November 07, 2015

Django Unchained

            Django Unchained starts off at the lowest point in the slave Django’s life.  We don’t know it yet, but he’s just been sold away and separated from his wife, Broomhilda, for attempting to escape to freedom together.  He’s being marched through Texas, barefoot, chained to other slaves, with just an old pair of ratty pants, and an old blanket to try and keep warm.  In this first scene, the promise of the title begins to unfold.  Django is literally unchained with the help of Dr. King Schultz, a German dentist turned bounty hunter. Schultz needs Django to help him with a bounty he’s after, and only Django can help him with it, because he knows what the bounty looks like.  Schultz and Django have an interesting relationship because it starts off very one-sided, but develops into a true partnership and friendship.  Schultz despises the institution of slavery, but doesn’t really care about individuals who are slaves, because he doesn’t have any personal experience with them. Throughout the film, Schultz gains that experience, and at the end of the film, it causes him to act against what we’ve understood to be his character up to that point, so much so that he apologizes to Django after the fact. Django truly becomes unchained after being freed.  He becomes the fastest gun in the south, he becomes an expert bounty hunter, and he becomes a hero as he saves his wife from a living hell. Django always had this in him, and the film shows us the clues, for example, we see him run away with Broomhilda, we see him do everything he can to save her from the lashing of the Brittle Brothers, even the fact that he and Broomhilda are married at a time when slaves weren’t allowed to be married, shows that he has a rebel heart against evil and tyranny, it’s just waiting to have a chance to come out and expand. King Schultz may initially give him that opportunity, but Django takes it whole-souled and wholeheartedly.  And at the end of the story, with the corruption of Candieland destroyed, his wife saved, and their freedom papers in his pockets, it is his victory.

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