I can’t recall the last time I ever read a more devastating shredding of a film than this dismantling written by Jesse Williams (mild-mannered actor, model, producer, star of Grey’s Anatomy by day; heroic blogger, teacher, Temple University grad, though-provoker, and movie-bullshit fighter by night). Today a tweet from Ava DuVernay led me to Williams 1500 word critique of Tarantino’s lazy insults on CNN.
In the film’s opening sequence, shackled blacks literally hold the key to their shackles and don’t use them, choosing instead to trudge forward, hindered by biting chains, to kill a white man. In the third act, after seeing Django kill the Australians, the blacks sitting in an open cage neither communicate with each other or consider stepping outside of the cage.
In fact, in this entire, nearly three-hour film, there are no scenes with black people interacting, or even looking at each other, in a respectful or productive way.
The CNN essay throws a harsh spotlight on the worst of what’s wrong with Django but that’s nothing compared to the far more rigorous bitch-slapping Jesse Williams delivers in a detailed scene-by-scene dissection that runs more than 5600 words on his own blog. Anyone who dislikes Django Unchained as much as I do will relish seeing it so deftly dismantled — and I’ll be surprised if even the film’s biggest fans don’t see it differently if they take the time to read Williams’ formidable takedown. Check out some choice excepts after the cut.