I suppose if you like mindless violence and your definition of art is “lots of squirting blood” this might be the movie for you.
Spoiler alert for the rest of this, though I would actually advocate being spoiled so you don’t have to inflict watching the movie upon your soul and its limited time on this Earth.
The movie did have some good bits. The violence wasn’t too excessive early on – distracting but not ruining, and not so bad compared to a lot of other movies. The German bounty hunter Dr Schultz was an interesting character, rather mild and even gormless in many ways yet not in his actions. Django had a threatening, powerful presence. And there was some good humour, notably the scene with the Ku Klux Klan and their ill-fitting masks, though I thought that scene did go on too long.
But the ending was terrible, just a pathetic excuse to substitute violence for art or sense. Even the trigger for it all was stupid. Schultz, previously showing a good degree of brains, decides shaking the hand of the admittedly rotten scoundrel Calvin Candie (played by Leonardo DiCaprio in another poor movie choice, sorry Leo) is too much to handle. So much so he would rather die just to kill him instead – despite the fairly easy to predict further consequences. Especially pointless when they could have killed him later at their leisure, having had no qualms about that in the rest of the movie.
Then it is just ridiculous levels of violence, to an extreme of blood and pointlessness. And the feeble attempt at the end at a bit of light-heartedness and humour with the prancing horse as Django shows off to his girl – totally out of place after what they’ve just been through unless you they’re both psychopaths – just underlines the insanity of the exercise.
With themes like these – slavery, emancipation, the search for a stolen love, the help of a white anti-slavery bounty hunter: so much could have been done with this. It is a pity the director is more interested – obsessed? – with violence for the sake of shock.
If I was Django, I’d burn the cinema down.