"Django Unchained": Tarantino tackles slavery

Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained," which opens Christmas Day, would make a terrific double feature with Steven Spielberg's latest, "Lincoln." Each movie burns down the old slave plantation in its own way.

"Lincoln" dramatizes the Civil War and the political maneuvering needed to pass the slavery-abolishing 13th Amendment, but it doesn't show the horrors of slavery those battles were waged over. "Django Unchained" is an explosive revenge fantasy that puts slavery's evils on gruesome display and turns freed slave Jamie Foxx into a western-style gunslinger seeking retribution. It skips the "malice toward none" part.

It's unusual for there to be two movies in theaters at once dealing with the American tragedy of slavery. It has been a subject of movies almost since there have been motion pictures; D.W. Griffith's "The Birth of a Nation" hit theaters in 1915, when Civil War veterans were still alive. But there haven't been a lot of films about American slavery, compared with, say, space travel or baseball....

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