“Django Unchained’s” secret triumph
OVER THE WEEKEND I had the luxury of seeing Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino’s slavery-centered revenge fantasy. Like everything the gore-obsessed culture monger has produced, from Pulp Fiction to Kill Bill, I found myself wrapped up in a narrative so inventive I was in no time cheering along as the taskmasters bled out. I’ve had long conversations with more film-savvy friends on Mr. Tarantino’s artistic merits. Sure, some of them are enamored, but others find him too liberal with his tendency to borrow—more of a master of post-modern pastiche than an authentic auteur, while posing as the latter. I can’t say I don’t sympathize. As someone interested in authenticity (in literature, especially), I can’t fault those who take Tarantino’s obsession with Kung Fu movies, Spaghetti Westerns, and scene stalking to task. Still, with each release I find myself unflinchingly in awe; whether or not I’m being spoon-fed what’s already been done, Tarantino’s films accomplish the goal of playing with a viewer’s perception of past and present. He does wonders with rendering violence surreal, while, of course, polarizing the hell out of his audience.