Note: This review contains spoilers and may be best for those who have seen the film.
“Are you not entertained?” This oft-repeated line from the classic film Gladiator captures the tension between the sadistic and the sensational, which is where Tarantino’s Django dwells. The adventurous and deeply romantic scenes of Django are layered onto the brutality of American slavery. This effect is the inclusion of wild west tavern scenes remixed to include dialog on the concept of flesh as product in business transactions. One aspect is entertaining. One part is enlightening. Together? The end result is not clear. The idea alone of Tarantino’s approach provoked a response from filmmaker Spike Lee who tweeted, “American Slavery Was Not A Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western. It Was A Holocaust. My Ancestors Are Slaves. Stolen From Africa. I Will Honor Them.” At the time of this review, Lee had yet to see the film. It remains to be seen how general audiences will respond to the content.