So last week, after work I went to Curzon Soho to go see Django Unchained with my friend Will. Occasionally if I’m a very good girl I get a dayshift on Saturday which enables me to playact at having a social life. And then there are weeks like this week where I barely have five seconds to do important things like tell the internet about it. Such is life, I guess. The older I get the more I laugh at the notion of a work-life balance. Work is my life.
I don’t feel in any way qualified to enter into the complex and legitimate race debates surrounding this movie. It’s a combination of not feeling comfortable with my role in the discussion in that I don’t want to be in a position of appropriation myself, and everything I feel I could bring to the table having already been said by people a million times smarter and more articulate than I am. So I will do what I do best, and talk about what I enjoyed and why.
This was the first time I’d even bothered to go to the cinema in so long I barely remember what the last film I saw was. Call me snobby but I don’t do multiplexes. I just find them a patience testing experience. I don’t do massmarketed food, beer, music, or literature for enjoyment. Why would I do the same for a cinema experience? So I dragged Will down Shaftesbury avenue, and squeezed into a packed screening, glass of red in hand (Because who gives a fuck about popcorn when a cinema sells booze, I mean really?).
I am just gonna state right now before I proceed any further, that I properly, massively enjoyed this film. My ex always used to rag on Tarantino for being overly referential and hollow at some sort of meaningful core, but honestly, that’s surely the postmodern filmmakers dream, no? As human beings we all want to be slick and stylish, with the best pop culture references, so why not want our films the same way? Tarantino films are the equivalent of your schoolfriend’s hot older brother with the cool movie posters and taste in music. He brings out everyone’s clamouring-for-credibility teenage girl: ‘Oh yeah! I got that reference cos I’ve totally versed myself in that genre! I know about that stuff too! Take me seriously, I love you!’. And that’s fine, because it’s fun. It’s an excitable earnestness that I find missing in adult life all too often.
And the ultraviolence? It’s adrenaline triggering hijinks to the post-Ballard viewer. I don’t want every film I watch doused in ‘woahhhh!’ inducing gunslinging, and the occasionally flinch-inducing ‘what the FUCK?’ sequence, but the occasional dose of it is gratefully, heart-poundingly, received. Am I slightly desensitized these days? Probably, but find me a 24 year old who isn’t. It’s not like it impairs my ability to watch softly, softly dramas about feelings, like Woody Allen’s Interiors, with just as much appreciation. Anybody only interested in one half of the equation is pretty darned 2 dimensional.
True to form, it was also funny. The dialogue is always ludicrously tight and arch in Tarantino films. I am fairly easy to provoke into hysterics, because I see the funny side of almost everything, but my sides ached after watching this. The appropriation of Blaxploitation style one liners (I am the fucking Pam Grier queen of the universe, so this made me happy) was just too perfect, and the portrayal of an inept and bumbling klan was a nice relief laugh at an otherwise strained and difficult subject without straying too much into smug ‘look how far we’ve come’ self congratulation.
I definitely enjoy Tarantino’s takes on genre pieces, and to maintain the mood, Will and I went for big time beer and scotch round the corner afterwards, to listen to some good old fashioned rock n roll and geek out about how ‘….awesome, just, awesome’ the whole thing was. Definitely a good way to spend a rare evening off, and a nice reminder to myself that I don’t always need my cinema to be as overthought and introspective as I am.
(Also; mad props for the Dumas reference on the day I finished my love affair with The Count of Monte Cristo)