Wesley Morris: 5. “Django Unchained”
Other filmmakers might have thought about how to make a genre movie about slavery — Mel Brooks, say. But only Quentin Tarantino would have turned that movie into a grisly romance western between two married slaves whose reunion is obstructed by a callow plantation owner and his pathologically devoted black servant (Samuel L. Jackson, high on fearlessness). Tarantino’s love of hip-hop’s use-everything philosophy and his contempt for tastefulness hit their pop stride here. Hollywood’s pious I’m-sorries and you’re-welcomes make him sick without turning him amoral. He hasn’t made the movie of a white liberal apologist. He’s made the movie of a white liberal who believes he’s a black revisionist radical. The result is far more astonishing than it is wrong.