2. THE HISTORY LESSON
There are moments in "Django Unchained" that are absolutely unbearable to witness -- stark reminders of the ugliness of slavery and the brutality which governed our country not so long ago. Tarantino has never shied away from subject matter that is less than savory -- witness the massacre of a hiding Jewish family at the beginning of "Inglorious Basterds" -- and he pulls no punches here, as he stacks the deck against his freed-slave hero simply by being faithful to history. Like "Basterds," "Django Unchained" abides by a type of "historical revenge" narrative by allowing the oppressed to wreck havoc on the oppressor; but unlike "Basterds," this film feels more truthful to its times by capturing the unruly energy of the pre-Civil War Deep South. In a sense, Tarantino's latest is a great companion piece to the recently released "Lincoln," since it provides a bloody context for what exactly that president was fighting for.