i thought it was fucking tremendous.
i’ve been paying a lot more attention to criticism of the film from black sources than from white sources because frankly i find the black response much more Important and Culturally Relevant than the white response, but as a white person, i can only speak to my experience…
i loved the characters, appreciated the 3-act nature (actually owen and i are talking right now about how it’s almost like a pop song, with verse chorus verse, where chorus is violence and the bridges are transitions between the acts, and it has an intro and an outro, but we’re nerds and nobody cares about that), and could easily overlook some of the sloppiness people are talking about. i thought jamie foxx’s performance was riveting, and i think christoph waltz was just as good as he was in inglorious basterds, if not a hair better.
i also need to say that my physiological reaction to the film was important. there was shit that happened in that movie that i didn’t really think about happening to real people, and that’s disgusting (both that i didn’t know it and that it was done in this country just 150 years ago). the violence against white people didn’t bother me a bit, and it wasn’t even as violent - it was cartoonish, explosive, unbelievable. but the violence against - and fascination with - black bodies was extremely realistic, palpable, horrific, and it makes you realize that the slave trade in this country was based on an extremely sick obsession and hatred that isn’t cured, maybe can’t be cured. it doesn’t preach violence as an answer but it doesn’t eschew it, either, and i think skirting that line is extremely important.
i would have liked tarantino to get more out of kerry washington. she’s clearly a hell of an actress and i think the real meat of the black female experience was neglected in lieu of the (white?) male imagination of that experience, and that was both a lost opportunity and a grave error, to my mind (just like how he picked a blonde, blue-eyed woman to play the jew in inglorious basterds… hmmmm).
i recognize the problems with the film and i defer to the opinions and criticisms of black folks in this matter. if the movie is problematic - and i think it is - i am willing to admit that. but i did enjoy it, and i felt like, for me, it taught me something, and deepened my appreciation for the truly fucked-up nature of race relations in our country.