Django: The Quickest Gun in the South

“He’s the top of the West Always cool, he’s the best He keeps alive with his Colt 45” -Trinity (Titoli) by Annibale E I Cantori Moderni

Joel E. Wood II, Columnist

Jamie Foxx plays Django in “Django: Unchained”. (Wikimedia Commons)

Imagine your favorite Western. Maybe it’s “The Lone Ranger”, “The Good the Bad and the Ugly”, or maybe you prefer the old classic tv shows like “Bonanza”. Maybe you think of the old actors like Clint Eastwood, John Wayne, or Gray Cooper.

When it comes to popularity, Westerns have been on a decline for decades; but Quantine Tarantino keeps the pistol loaded with his blockbuster movie “Django: Unchained”. It’s a spectacularly created film full of the key attributes attributed to a classic Western: Drama, family, horse riding and, most importantly, gunslinging.

“Django: Unchained” is the story of a slave (Jamie Foxx) named Django who is freed by a German dentist turned bounty hunter named Dr. Shultz (Christoph Waltz). Dr. Shultz is morally opposed to slavery and Django is his partner, not his slave.

Dr. Shultz originally needs Django to find a group of outlaws called the Brittle Brothers. However, after this deed is done, Shultz discovers that Django has a wife, Broomhilde (Kerry Washington). Broomhilde is a slave that can speak German, and Django intends to find and free her. Shultz then decides to teach Django the way of the bounty hunter, how to read, and become a true freedman. Shultz and Django spend the winter in the mountains claiming bounties and training; during this time Django discovers that he a natural gunslinger.

Shultz and Django then make their way to Mississippi to find the plantation that owns Broomhilde. Their search brings them to a plantation called Candy Land owned by Monsieur Candy (Leonardo De Caprio), a plantation owner, who is big in the cotton and Mondingo business.

In the movie, Mandingo fighting is a sport in which owners would pit their biggest and strongest slaves up against each other to battle to the death. (A quick note, I try not to rip apart a movie by pointing out its historical inaccuracies since it is sometimes difficult to include or exclude everything. However, I find it important to point out that this type of “entertainment”; the Mandingo Fighting; was never actually used in America and is historically inaccurate. The Mandingo people, better known as the Mandkinka, are a people who live in West Africa. They are spread across parts of Guinea, Ivory Coast, Mali, Senegal, the Gambia and Guinea-Bissau.)

Afraid that Monsieur Candy will not sell them Broomhilde, Shultz and Django devise a plan to pose as men wanting to buy a Mandingo Fighter: Shultz being a man wanting to enter the Mandingo business and Django being a blake slaver and Mandingo expert. After some difficultly, they are able to capture Monsieur Candy’s attention by making a ridiculous offer of $12,000 for the right fighter.

This ruse works for some time until it is cleverly figured out by the head house slave Stephan (Samual L. Jackson). Once Stephan is able to convince Monsuier Candy that Django and Dr, Shultz are not who they say they are and that they are not at the plantation to buy a fighter but instead Broomhilde, Candy creates a plan which forces Dr. Shultz to buy Broomhilde for $12,000. The movie then concludes with a major gunfight between Candy’s men and Django, Django being captured and hauled off, Django outwitting his captives, and Django rescuing his wife for the second time and riding off into the moonlight.

Jamie Foxx does a spectacular job playing a freed slave in slave land. He trusts no one, learns quickly, and is not afraid to use his freedom to mouth off at his white peers. In his own words, Foxx gives Django that extra little sass and pazas. He brings to life an emotionally driven man who excels at being a bounty hunter or, as he puts it, a Black man paid to kill white people. He brings everything together: the broken husband, the beaten slave, and the unforgiving gunslinger to create Django: The Quickest Gun in the South.