He's been criticized by people like Spike Lee for even making a slave film, raised eyebrows over Jamie Foxx's unbelievably straight hairline (slaves didn't own electric clippers, we checked), and now over the use of the n-word.
Being that Django is a movie set during slavery, it's certainly not uncommon to hear Black people being called “n***er,” but some feel that the director pushed it to the limit, since the word was used over 110 times. “Those things really depress me because they're usually talked about by people who've not actually seen the film, which is typical of where we are in our culture,” Django producer Reggie Hudlin told TheGrio. “We're in a time period when there was extraordinary violence against people; verbal violence is the least of it. When you look at that time, there was institutionalized horror—legalized horror—people were denying the humanity of people to justify white supremacy. That's more significant than any use of the word n***er. Let's actually talk about the bigger themes in the movie.”
To his credit, Tarantino does include horrid scenes of the treatment of slaves, potentially to balance out the story from a historical standpoint, but reviews about the film have been mixed. Comedian Sarah Silverman was asked of her thoughts on the use of the word, and defended Tarantino. “Doesn't it take place like during slavery?” she said. “Wouldn't it be odd if they didn't have that horrific word in it?”
Needless to say, all of the controversy seems to be translating into ticket sales. The film—which opened on Christmas—grossed $15 million in one day.
Photo: Columbia Pictures