The night when I was cleansed by the unchained Django
It was one of those nights.
I had been working non-stop for 12 hours. My brain was quickly approaching the point where it would fry and I was desperate for a remedy: something to distract me for a couple of hours to let me cool down.
Since it was midweek, it seemed to be a bad idea to sweep a bottle of wine. The following headache would no doubt be as bad as having your brain fried. So I settled for my second idea to catch the last screening of the night at the multiplex theatre, which turned out to be Django Unchained.
Normally it wouldn’t have been my first choice. I had a vague idea that I should see it “because everyone else will see it”, so I could participate in the discussions in the film blogosphere. But wasn’t a Tarantino devotee and the trailer hadn’t made me overly excited about it. It seemed to try to be funny, but I didn’t laugh. Western, comedy an excessive killing sounded like a bad combination for me. But as things were now, I couldn’t be picky. Anything would do as long as it could serve as a transportation device into another world.
It was with low expectations that I entered the theatre, more out of need than of lust. And as you know, there’s nothing that makes a movie better than approaching it with a healthy amount of scepticism.
Won me over
Five minutes was all it took for Django to win me over. Those five minutes didn’t just introduce the heroes – the bounty hunter Dr Schultz and his to-be partner Django, former slave. It also contained the main features of the movie I was about to see: a well balanced mix of drama, comedy and stylish, choreographed over-the-top violence.
I had hesitated at the hefty runtime, almost three hours. Could my attention possibly be kept for that long? It turned out that it could. I didn’t check my watch a single time and when I left the theatre around midnight, I was admittedly tired, but in a better way. It was as if all that blood splashing over the screen had cleansed my system from any stress residue from the day. My mind was completely reset and I was ready for a good night’s sleep.
I’m not sure I would have loved Django Unchained as much as I did if I had watched it another night. But right there, in that moment, it was a perfect match. And best of all: I’ve got almost the entire Tarantino back catalogue to catch up with. Until this point I had only seen Pulp Fiction.
Django Unchained (Quentin Tarantino, US 2012) My rating: 4,5/5