However, novelist, screenwriter, essayist and Columbia University professor (and Huffington Post reviewer), Trey Ellis has.
And holy moly, is he ever impressed.
Ellis says, like a lot of black folks, he had a problem with Tarantino’s profuse use on the “N-word” in previous films. But now that he’s seen “Django,” he’s ready to let it go and is heaping nothing but praise on the director as well as actors Jamie Foxx and Samuel L. Jackson whose performances in the film he says are “nuanced, real, raw and entertaining.”
Like every other black filmmaker and/or self-appointed guardian of black cultural treasures, I was as worried as I was delighted when I heard Quentin Tarantino’s next film would be a slave-narrative-cum-spaghetti-western. He’s easily one of the most exciting filmmakers in the history of cinema, and much of that excitement comes from how he challenges the audience. However some black fans, including me, have sometimes struggled with his well-publicized, pre-hipster love affair with the n-word.
For example Tarantino’s Jackie Brown is a masterpiece. For resuscitating the career of Pam Grier alone, the director should have been awarded whatever the black equivalent is of the Légion d’Honneur. The 38 utterances of the n-word didn’t enrage me as it did Spike Lee (who counted them), and then said in an interview for Variety, “Quentin is infatuated with that word. What does he want to be made — an honorary black man?”
Well, now for making the funniest, most-energizing, complicated, brilliant and uplifting action-adventure about a slave turned gunslinging folk hero, Tarantino has more than earned his black card. Jamie Foxx’s Django and Sam Jackson’s Stephen are two of the most nuanced, real, raw and entertaining black characters ever filmed. Foxx has the courage to begin his character as a vulnerable, beaten and heartbroken slave who gradually grows into an unforgettable and instantly iconic American folk hero. Jackson’s Stephen (a play on Stepin Fetchit) is easily one of the most audacious and ultimately brilliantly surprising performances of his career.
The ocean of black pain that is slavery has cried out for dramatizations as loudly as the mad slaughters of WWII, and yet, curiously, it has been seriously underfilmed. Just as Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds reclaims that war for Jewish heroism, Django positions an indelible black hero as the avenging angel of the great shame that is slavery. As a black man I have to thank him for that. And as a black filmmaker I’m both impressed and jealous.
Read/learn more at Huffington Post.
Check out the trailer for “Django Unchained”:
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