The Revenge Flick

By Ta-Nehisi Coates

Quentin Tarantino is writing and directing a black Southern:


...In his film, according to one source who has read the script, "Django is a freed slave, who, under the tutelage of a German bounty hunter (played by Christopher Waltz the evil Nazi officer in Inglorious Basterds) becomes a bad-ass bounty hunter himself, and after assisting Waltz in taking down some bad guys for profit, is helped by Waltz in tracking down his slave wife and liberating her from an evil plantation owner. And that doesn't even half begin to cover it! This film deals with racism as I've rarely seen it handled in a Hollywood film. While it's 100 percent pure popcorn and revenge flick, it is pure genius in the way it takes on the evil slave owning south. Think of what he did with the Nazis in Inglorious and you'll get a sense of what he's doing with slave owners and slave overseers in this one."

It's good to see a post-Civil War flick that doesn't focus on some ostensibly non-slaveholding, ex-Confederate, who only fought because "ya'll was down here," going to avenge his slain and raped (don't forget raped!) wife. 

Putting a freedman in that role gets us past the laughable historical frame, as the fate that these film-makers ascribe to ex-Confederates were much more likely to befall the Colored Troops. But it still leaves us with the problem of women (almost) in refrigerators. The girl is still little more than a plot-device.

I don't know how much of this is just about the limits of make big films, so I always feel funny making these sorts of critiques. Besides, I'm not a fan of Tarantino's scenes of gratuitous violence. I guess it's better then a bunch of passive Negroes, singing hymns or shuffling.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2011/05/the-revenge-flick/238237/