David Frum

01.11.13

Quentin Tarantino's Infatuation With Raw Violence

Quentin Tarantino cares so passionately and deeply about slavery that he couldn't be bothered to learn anything about it. When asked by a British interviewer about his new movie's (as usual) gleeful violence, Tarantino reacted haughtily:

"Don't ask me a question like that …. I am not your slave and you are not my master."

Video screenshot

You'd think a man who'd spent the past year and a bit immersed in a movie about the antebellum South might see the difference between this one unwelcome moment in his ultra-luxury movie promotion tour and the real experience of slavery: a lifetime in bondage, exploitation, and degredation, but … no. Slavery - like the suffering of the Jews in Nazi-occupied Jews - seems interesting to Tarantino mostly as a prophylactic against those who accuse him of delighting in sadism for its own sake. "I'm not making slasher films. I have a message! And my message is: bad people should be tortured to death on screen for all to watch and enjoy."

Chris Caldwell aptly commented this past weekend, in a smart column in the Financial Times:

Django uses slavery the way a pornographic film might use a nurses’ convention: as a pretext for what is really meant to entertain us. What is really meant to entertain us in Django is violence.