Django Unchained Versus Kindred

The Root has a review of the Django Unchained script by way of comparing it to the Octavia Butler novel Kindred. Kindred is written by a black woman, and uses science fiction to yank a modern day black woman back to the time of slavery.

If Butler uses a familiar genre, science fiction, to introduce readers to the unfamiliar horrors of slavery, then Tarantino plans to use the spaghetti Western to that same end. It’s a genre that audiences know: The good guy, all in white, saves a damsel in distress from the bad guy, all in black. The twist is, it’s the black guy, a former slave, who saves the day in what Tarantino has described as a “Southern,” a Western set in the antebellum Deep South.

“I want to do movies that deal with America’s horrible past, with slavery and stuff, but do them like spaghetti Westerns, not like big-issue movies. I want to do them like they’re genre films, but they deal with everything that America has never dealt with because it’s ashamed of it,” explained Tarantino in a 2007 interview with the Daily Telegraph.

As I was reading their breakdown of Kindred before they got to the details on Django Unchained, I didn’t think they’d like Django. But, I was wrong.

What I didn’t expect was that the script for Django would be as good as it is. It reads like a traditional Western, with all the expert gunslinging and professional killing that goes along with the genre.

If that sounds violent, it’s because it should. What’s more violent than slavery? What’s a better backdrop for the ills of a torturous institution that affected everyone it touched for the worse?