Django off the chain!

Anthony Thalassinos

Over the years there have been a number of films that have caused shock and awe from around the world. The Asian nations such as South Korea and Japan have proven with movies such as Old Boy, Ichi the Killer and Battle Royale they are on top of the mountain when it comes to shocking audiences. However, despite the disturbing plots, sadistic bloodshed in all these movies, I still did not find myself uncomfortable watching these types of movies.

As an enthusiast of the “cringe worthy film” I expect that type of film being shown to Asian audiences therefore never found myself uncomfortable watching western films as I believe they cannot compete with the shameless story-telling available in Asian Films. However in 2012, Quentin Tarantino released his latest film being “Django Unchained,” and despite how much I adored the film, I found myself squirming in my seat as some scenes pushed me into an awkward state. 

 As I sat in my seat anticipating the screening of this great movie, I thought what can the master of shock to western audiences come up with next, Tarantino did not disappoint. From the very beginning  we are spectators to the degrading and shaming of another race as African-American slaves in chains walk along the sizzling outback with scars displayed on their backs and blood running from their ankles, slowly we begin to realise that this will be Tarantino’s most shocking film to date. As I sit there with a slight grin across my face ready to encounter anything Mr Tarantino is prepared to throw at me, I hear something I have never heard on a movie screen so freely used before. “Nigger don’t you touch my brother’s jacket” all of a sudden my smile changed, my seat became less comfortable to sit in, I could not quite grasp it but despite the gore at the gun wound and the profanity used, the n-word really got to me! Is it that simple? Had Tarantino’s installation of a minor phrase catapulted him to a whole new offensive level? I believed so.

 As the film continued, the word continued to be used and used and used until another moment of shocked awaited the audience. Leonardo Di Caprio (as dreamy as he is) was gazing upon two African-American’s beat each other to death. The sheer brutality was too much for me and despite wanting to leave and close my eyes, I could not! I did not allow myself to miss what could be the movie of the year but also the most shocking film seen in cinemas in 2012 or the past decade. As the blood gushed from one competitor’s eye and another’s flesh hanged off their shoulder, I could not believe the boundaries Tarantino was willing to push in this day and age; did he not care about the ramifications that would eventuate from a western audience? Or did he think the world was ready to bear witness to America’s disturbing past? Either way, the movie had it all.  

 The continued racism without any restrictions and the relentless violence within the film makes Django Unchained not only a difficult film for western audience to watch but also audiences around the world! Tarantino is known for pushing the boundaries but this time he showed a confident man who believes his above Hollywood and could get away with it and funny enough, he did! With multiple accolades won at the Academy Awards, Django Unchained indicated that with the right artistic touch, you are able to push the boundaries of Hollywood, but only if your Quentin Tarantino. 

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