The Twelfth Man.
Django Unchained isn’t just a glorification of gratuitous violence and foul language, EVERYthing about Django is gratuitous. There’s an extra character in it, like the crowd noise as the invisible twelfth man in a football game, only in this case, it’s the frequent and persistent voice of worried studio execs and concerned friends trying to reign Quentin in. If you listen closely, you can hear it throughout the film.
“Hey, so uh, Quentin… maybe seven blood packets instead of twelve in this scene? Also, I’m not sure you need that sorta ‘gurgle-slurp’ noise after the slaver gets his head caved in.. but I’m sure you know best, haha!”
“Quentin, buddy! Hey, I know this is about slavery and stuff, but what if we just said the N-word, like, ten fewer times? I think people get it, you know? I mean, just a thought.”
“Yo, Q-Ball. I’m loving this, buddy, I really am, but… this shot of the underside of Django’s hairy nutsack? What if we just shot it from, say, from a little further away? Maybe we try one your way and one my way? I dunno, just spitballin’ here.”
“Hey, T-Squared, I know you like putting yourself in your own movies and stuff, but… I dunno, does your character really need an Australian accent in this one? I’m worried it’s going to come off… silly. But hey, one man’s opinion.”
To see Django Unchained is to watch Quentin Tarantino studiously ignore that voice. You know Tarantino could easily make a refined movie that every asthmatic, private school-educated film critic would love, just by dialing back his peccadilloes half a tick. The beauty of Tarantino is that he doesn’t want to, and that he doesn’t. As brilliant an audience manipulator as he is, he’s still that video store clerk who can’t spell, who just loves sticking it to the shrivs and poindexters who’ll never fully appreciate something this rowdy. He’s like a comedian who constantly hears people tell him that he’s clever enough to be funny without swearing. “Yeah, but I like swearing. That’s what’s funny to me.”
Django Unchained is messy, overstuffed, and overlong, in a way that suits it just perfectly.
It’s like witnessing a manic episode. Tarantino is so obviously fired up about his subject matter, his nuttiness so palpable, that watching it you feel like you’re being covered in ink splatter like the blood-stained cotton in the trailer as Tarantino scribbles away.