Maybe it was the pathetic way our mainstream media focused on Titewhai Harawira on Waitangi Day rather than ask John Key hard questions about how he has managed to fail Maori so spectacularly in only 4 years that I decided I needed a double feature reminder of how America had dealt with their racial past.
I am a huge Quentin Tarantino fan, let's just pause and worship his brilliance with infographics...
...so I was looking forward to Django. I don't know why, but Inglorious Bastards just didn't seem to fire for me. It was too fantastic as opposed to clever, I liked it, but it just seemed to miss its mark in so many places, which is odd when you think of all the fun you could have with Jews wanting to creatively murder Nazis. Thankfully Django doesn't fall into any of the pitfalls of Inglorious, it is written believably minus the more fantastic flights of fancy and is hilarious.
Set two years before the Civil War in Lincoln, Django recreates the smooth flow of Pulp Fiction while exploring the racial hang ups of America. Samuel L Jackson's performance is all the more poignant because of his past work with Tarantino and there is no greater joy than watching white slave owners being blown to pieces in their own slave mansions.
Lincoln on the other hand is an attempt to remind an America ripped to pieces by the current partisanship under Obama that brave cautious voices slowly moved a deeply racist America away from slavery. We forget how America gained so much of its current economic power off the base of slavery, and how deeply divided the country still remains.
America hasn't come to terms with the near genocide they inflicted upon the Native American's, so it will be some time still before they can grasp the enormity of enslaving part of their own citizens while proclaiming self-evident truths of freedom.
It's a brave rendering of Lincoln and Daniel Day-Lewis deserves the Academy Award for best actor, he's pretty bloody good. Tommy Lee Jones should be a hot favourite for best supporting actor, but the list of historical bullshitting in Lincoln probably rules it out for best film.
Both attempt to investigate America's uneasy history of slavery in very different ways. Tarantino gleefully puts the guns into the hands of a delightful Jamie Foxx to hand out blood splattered vengeance to slave owners where as Speilberg tries to appeal to our better angels and evoke upon us change by the power of the argument.
Personally I preferred the simple joy of watching slavers being riddled to bloodied ribbons.
Lincoln - 4 stars
Django Unchained - 5 stars