There is a list of things that clued-up audience members have come to expect from a Quentin Tarantino flick; they have somewhat of a stigma surrounding them these days. The hard-hitting gritty looking trailer for Django Unchained did nothing to assuage that expectation, but instead strengthened it and left fans awaiting something hilarious and fantastic; the non-fans know to stay away. Tarantino is comfortingly predictable as a film maker.
Django Unchained did not disappoint, not in the predictability category at least. Here is a movie with a large and terrific cast, enough blood to fill many a bath, long-winded and not utterly necessary dialogue, strong women, revenge as cold as hell and a killer soundtrack. Ordinarily that combination would have me thrilled, and for a couple of days following I was. But then I woke up, realised that I hadn't thought about the film for awhile, and found that when I did I was left a little hollow. After pondering the feeling and thinking back over the film I got to the root of my dissatisfaction: there were absolutely no strong women to be found.
The entire three hours was filled with marvellous male characters, doing all sorts of good and dastardly deeds. But the female characters were there purely as incomplete plot devices and an insufferable damsel in distress, one didn't even receive that much gratitude (and really, the marvellous Zoe Bell deserves better than a few unnecessary shots). Just a solid hint of one feisty, go get em chick and I would have been happy.
This isn't something that I worry about in most movies, I generally leave my feminism for less confined situations, but Tarantino usually brings the girl power in ways other directors seem afraid to. It's one of those predictable things about him. That was missing this time around, and the chemistry did not work without it. Don't get me wrong, I am still a fan, and a lot of the movie made giggle and shout hurrah! All I can hope for is that next time the balance is restored.