January 3, 2013
Amidst the ongoing flurry of debate over Quentin Tarantino's spaghetti western “Django Unchained,” one can at least declare safely that the hints to the final product on screen were always present. The screenplay -- leaked over a year ago and marked up in the director's handwriting -- contained the full vision of what Tarantino hoped to achieve, and now with disputes over the film's ruthless depiction of violence, the script and the director's words are here to clear the air. With Spike Lee and Antoine Fuqua dismissed, anyone who's actually seen “Django Unchained” will notice in certain scenes a tonal shift, both in style and shown brutality, along the bloody road of Jamie Foxx's retribution.
According to Tarantino, who was interviewed recently on NPR, that approach was painstakingly considered, but he admits that he pulled back in the end. "What happened during slavery times is a thousand times worse than [what] I show,” he said. “So if I were to show it a thousand times worse, to me, that wouldn't be exploitative, that would just be how it is.”
“[When] I watched it with those rougher scenes, like the mandingo [fighting] scene or the dog scene or the castration scene, when they were rougher, I saw that I'd traumatized the audience too much. So their responses in all the other sections of the film were qualified by that trauma."
Fascinating stuff, and if you haven't already, check out both the screenplay and the interview, and see if Tarantino's text points to a different outcome than what his comments suggest.
Do you think the violence in Tarantino's films outweigh his usage of the "N" word? Speak up below.