Unchained Hate: Why Spike Lee Shouldn’t Hate ‘Django Unchained’
If you’re looking for a full-on splattering review of Quentin Tarantino’s latest film Django Unchained where there is plenty of in-depth detail about why Samuel L. Jackson should win an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor (he should though), this will not be said article. Rather, its dissecting why one acclaimed director might be a bit out of touch discussing said work.
I have the utmost respect and admiration for Spike Lee and the strides he has made in cinema. Having said that; as it pertains to his vocal disdain for the newly released Django, I would like to respectfully slide out a chair for him to sit in.
Although he has stated he has no intention of even seeing the film, he has already decided that it would be “disrespectful to his ancestors” to do so. While there is a real debate to be waged over the depiction of minorities; both in television and in film, this is not the film to spark it.
Especially given the already known beef between he & Tarantino that dates back to the 90s, despite the two collaborating on Lee’s Girl 6 film.
Where critics have taken offense at the seemingly overuse of the “N-word”, not only in this film but in a large majority of Tarantino films in general (ex. 1997′s Jackie Brown); I have trouble thinking of what other terms were that loosely thrown around in 1858, which the film is set in. Unless you’re more comfortable with tar baby, darkie, jiggaboo, pickaninny or any of the countless other racial slurs used back then.
Django wasn’t meant to detail slavery as a whole, not with slight homages to Blazing Saddles woven into the narrative about a former slave turned bounty hunter. Matter of fact, what historical accuracy lies in a plot where a German comes over from his home country, becomes a bounty hunter and crosses the South to help a slave wage insurrection in the name of his wife? Django is not the new poster child of historical cinema. It is not a “movie about slavery;” it’s an over the top Western, loaded with violence spotted with ironic humor. No more no less.
Moreover; I find it odd that the same individuals targeting their supposed outrage at Tarantino for his choice of words in films like Pulp Fiction or Brown, lack the same passion for the amount of profanity and violence in films like Menace II Society.
If you want to see an authentic depiction of slavery I suggest Glory for your viewing pleasure; yet do not force a connection between the single tear that falls down Denzel’s cheek with Jamie brandishing an overseer’s own whip against him. Perhaps, Spike should let his pride, long rumored to be his hubris take a back seat on this one.
Or rather, make the film which “honors his ancestors” himself.