Today, my son and I decided to run out and see a movie. Since we are both Quentin Tarantino fans, and his latest effort, "Django Unchained" just hit the theaters, we chose this movie. Perhaps a bit of a bad choice for Christmas day, considering the typical gratuitous violence in the film, but you expect that from a Tarantino movie.
I left the movie completely rattled, and had to talk with my son for almost a half hour in the parking lot before I was even fit to drive. And it had nothing to do with the violence and bloodshed so typical of this genre. More discussion below, once the orange gun smoke clears.
At first I could not place my emotions, and why I was impacted so emotionally. All I knew was that I had significant problems with what I just saw. After a long discussion with my son (he is 28 by the way), and further consideration, I think I can finally define my thoughts.
The toughest part of the movie I had a problem with was the characterization of slavery. Not slavery itself, nor even the dramatization, but more how Tarantino turned slavery into a caracature of itself. Slavery is a horrible part of our history, and to commercialize it and exploit the most horrible components for the purposes creating an action hero story with graphic violence, corny joke lines, and an almost voyeuristic approach to abuse of human souls was horribly disrespectful to the reality of those that actually had to live through it. There were real heroes during that time, risking their lives to save others, why not portray them instead?
The other item that bothered me significantly was the audience reaction to certain aspects of the film, such as laughing at lines that were wholly inappropriate. If anyone thinks that we are in a post-racist era, feel free to come to my town and sit in a theater through this film. In particular, lines where slaves made statements to remain particularly subservient to their slave masters. This is an historic tragedy that people had to adapt to this extreme to survive, to avoid being beaten, whipped, or worse. But when certain lines were used by slaves in the film in this manner, people actually laughed, as if the actors were in black face hamming it up. I was and remain thoroughly disgusted with a large component of the human race right now.