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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Django Unchained

Illustration for article titled Django Unchained

Spoiler Space is a dedicated discussion area for people who have already seen a movie and want to talk about plot details we'd rather not reveal in our review. While we don’t promise spoilers for every film, here’s where you can discuss them to your hearts’ content.

Django Unchained's final act kicks off when Waltz, on the precipice of finally winning Washington's freedom—albeit by paying handsomely for it, thus entering into a Faustian bargain with DiCaprio's scheming devil—loses control, and in a short-sighted, counterproductive fit of vengeance, shoots and kills DiCaprio. So Waltz is promptly killed as well. This leads to a singularly spectacular shootout where Foxx, who has just lost his best friend, partner, and ally, uses his remarkable, James Bond-level killing skills to wipe out seemingly half of the Confederates in the South with a furious barrage of righteous gunfire. It’s as exhilarating and exciting as any moment in Tarantino's iconic oeuvre (which is saying an awful lot), even though it means killing off easily the film's most entertaining character (Waltz, though DiCaprio is also terrific in his go-for-broke, straight-up villain role) and leaving the film in Foxx's capable hands. As with the rest of the film, Tarantino is less interested in exploring the moral ambiguity and hypocrisy of righteous violence as an answer to immoral bloodshed than in manipulating emotions and firing up the audience’s bloodlust by pitting it against a force so evil that it justifies any level of retaliation, no matter how ridiculously gory and over-the-top. Django Unchained sends audiences out on an intense high, though its problematic elements and seemingly unambiguous embrace of vengeance leave behind a troubling, slightly sour aftertaste.

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