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Headscratchers: Django Unchained
  • Why did Schultz decide to shoot Candie? They were in the clear. They had more or less won. He could have avoided the ordeal easily enough simply by shaking his hand and completing the deal, ensuring that Brunhilda and Django walked out of the house as free people. His actions ended up putting them in grave danger.
    • In his own words: "I couldn't resist."
      • This. Everyone has moments where their emotions overrule logic.
      • I also suspect, as did some others in the theatre that Calvin was just using that as a ruse to get him close enough to possibly kill him as well as Django, then keep Broomhilda and the money.
      • This makes sense, since Candie's claim that the bill of sale wasn't legally binding unless there was a handshake is patently ridiculous. You could argue as much as you wanted in a court of law, but if the contract's properly signed and notarized(which it was), there's no way it's not legally binding unless one of the conditions of the contract was broken. Candie was also probably trying to take advantage of Schultz being a foreigner, counting on him not knowing the laws of the land. But since Schultz, as a bounty hunter, was an agent of the law, he would obviously be familiar with how contracts work under the United States system of law, so he obviously knew Candie was full of shit.
      • Considering that there were armed men waiting at the entrance hall and right outside the front door, it's obvious Candie arranged for them to kill those interlopers and Brunhilda the second they appeared where they wouldn't make a mess.
    • Word of God says that Schultz's tendency to play too many gambits instead of going for a straightforward plan doomed them from the start. Schultz is a control freak who *has* to be in the driver's seat. Candie actually cared little about Broomhilda enough that he would have been willing to sell her both before and after the ruse was discovered- he wasn't planning on killing them after the $12,000 sale, he was happy with the money and with humiliating the bounty hunters. Schultz, however, could not bring himself to be subservient to Candie by shaking his hand- his fatal character flaw. See this interview for the full details.
      • Personally, while I dig Tarantino's explanation and it does make things more interesting (the ever-so cool Schultz was done in by his own hubris and by being a sore loser, Candie for all his evil was honorable enough- or at least apathetic enough- to be willing to make good on his business deal), my interpretation was that Schultz was a bit unhinged after the corruption and evil he witnessed at Candieland. Hence, the flashbacks he had of the slave being ripped apart by dogs. The revulsion at that atrocity and his own complicitness in it (interestingly, Django seems to have no guilt from it at all, so focused he was on saving his wife) caused Schultz to want to kill Candie regardless of the cost. Even when it would lead to the situation becoming even worse. It's Tarantino, after all- you can't have a happy ending without bloodstained pathos.
    • Better question: why didn't Schultz shoot The Dragon? We know from the scene with the sheriff that his deringer has two shots, and he had a window to shoot Candie's bodyguard.
      • If he believed Candie was about to kill them, then why not wait until they'r eoutside so they can at least shoot their way out and escape as opposed to essentially giving Django and Brunhilda a death sentence? Personally, I didn't get the impression Candie was going to kill them but even then, there were smarter ways to go about doing things.
      • You don't think Candie was going to kill them, then what were the armed men doing on the second floor of the entrance hall and right outside the front door?
      • Candie always had armed men around him. That scene was no different from all the others.
      • Considering that they were standing guard over two very dangerous bounty hunters, it might have been pragmatism on Candie's part. That said, Schultz really should have put that second barrel to use. If he and Django were fighting their way out, they might've been able to win together.
      • Schultz probably wasn't expecting to get out of this alive, since he knows once he killed Candie he'd have to face all of his guards. One more shot wouldn't have made a difference.
      • He could have taken out Candie's Brute while Django went for his gun. If it was Schultz and Django, two proven badasses, fighting their way out, they probably would have won together.
    • If Candie and his men were planning on killing them, it would at least be smarter on Schultz's part to begin to gunfight outside where they can run off into the woods under the cover of night as opposed to shooting Candie in the middle of a well-lit house while surrounded by his mooks. As someone else pointed out, killing the unarmed Candie first instead of the Dragon was pretty dumb and it gets even worse when Schultz puts the gun away, turns, shurgs, and says "Sorry. Couldn't resist." to Django (the sort of thing people say when they know they've done something pointless but acted out of pure emotion). He could've, y'know, kept fighting. He probably would've lived longer.
      • It was clear at that point that emotion had purely overruled logic. You could see he was pissed that he'd just lost 12,000 bucks (she was worth 300, and if their diversion plan had worked then that's all Schultz would have paid). He was snapping at Lara for playing the music, and his mind kept flashing back to the dogs ripping D'Artagnan apart. He was already in a sorry state when Candie forced him to shake hands. At that point he just snapped. It was a "hot-blooded" murder, and he was willing to trade his life for it, so that's why he didn't bother fighting back.
      • When he shot the sheriff, he then palmed another bullet into the gun. It's a single-bullet pistol. The spontaneity with which he shot Calvin was probably what caused him not to have a back-up bullet. That, or he wanted to be killed, as previously mentioned.
      • Consider this too: Schultz had just paid $12,000 dollars for a single slave, while D'Artagnan could have been saved from a gruesome death with a pitiful $300. And this enormous amount sum of money had been made working as a lawman of sorts was going to likely going to be used to fund legal fights to the death between human beings. With the extended bill of sale scene followed spliced in with bits of Schultz's thoughts of D'Artagnan, got the feeling that Schultz realized that no matter what attempts he made to be a moral sort of killer, even as a bounty hunter working within the law, he'd always have blood on his hands because the laws themselves were rather senseless. Schultz had killed horse thieves and cattle rustlers without batting an eye, and yet here Candie was allowed to run a business dedicated entirely to selling human death as entertainment and there was nothing he could do about it.
    • In addition to what's already been mentioned, I think it's important not to overlook the symbolism inherent to the gesture. There's a reason the act of turning a blind eye to someone else's wrongdoing for your own benefit is considered "shaking hands with the devil". Schultz wouldn't just be making himself subservient to Candie by shaking his hand; he would be condoning his atrocities and becoming even more complicit in them than he was already. It's implied that Schultz thought he would be crossing a kind of Moral Event Horizon in sealing the deal, especially in light of some of his more questionable actions, such as killing a man in front of his son. Schultz shooting Candie may have been less Honor Before Reason and more an attempt on his part to invoke Redemption Equals Death.
  • When Lara gets killed, why did she suddenly get blown across the room at a right angle to where she was shot?
    • Rule of Funny.
    • It's a reference to women's deaths in old Westerns, who tended to be less gruesome than those of men or shown in less detail.
  • Did anyone maybe get the feeling of a bit of racism in some of Django's actions? I mean, he kills Laura, who had basically done NOTHING to him, and oftentimes gunned down helpless opponents who were no threat to him(namely "Moonlight", one of Candie's thugs). Was that just a thing with the Spaghetti Westerns that this movie pays homage to or is it me?
    • Absolutely. Django is a former slave. The only white people he probably came into contact with before the film were overseers and slavers. Schultz is almost definitely the first white guy that has ever treated him like a human being rather than a chattel. I'd be pretty fucking prejudiced if that was the case
    • Lara ordered him to be castrated. The only reason she changes her mind is because Stephen influences her to send Django to the mines, for the sole reason that it would be a fate worse than death.
    • Lara suggested that Django be sent to the mining company as opposed to killed in various gruesome fashions. Not only that but she is part of the slavery system and indirectly benefits from the suffering of the slaves. Don't forget she's the one who brought Brunhilda to Schultz under the guise that he wanted to have sex with her. It's highly likely that she brought the "entertainment" for Candie's other guests in the past as well.
      • Yeah, Lara's clearly meant to be a subversion of the "poor innocent white woman taken down by the Scary Black Man" trope. She may seem like an innocent Southern Belle at first glance, but she's as bigoted and cruel as the rest of them are, just more limited in her powers because this was a heavily patriarchal society.
    • Moonlight or Billy Crash wanted to castrate Django.
      • In regards to Django being sent to the slave mines, the movie implies that it was Stephen who made that call not Lara. As for Moonlight, yeah the dude was a scumbag who deserved what he got. But Django STILL executed the guy in cold blood even though the dude was absolutely no threat to him. And Lara's Stepford Smiler mannerisms in addition to her outburst at Candie during dinner suggested that she definitely wasn't the type to be as cruel or merciless as her brother was.
      • No, she didn't want to see her back because it was dinnertime and they were trying to eat. Finding something to be gross is different from finding it to be morally abhorrent. When Candie suggested that they look at her back instead after dinner, Lara had no problem with that.
      • When did Candie suggest looking at her back after dinner? From the way Candie interacted with her(including shooing her out of the room when he was about to spring his trap on Django and Schultz), it seemed like she was, more or less, kept out of the business by her brother.
      • You're forgetting how the movie began if you think they are no threat to him. Django was bought by Schultz because he could identify his bounties. Regardless of whether or not he had personal grudges against these people, he had to eliminate them lest they come after him later. He only didn't have to shoot the slaves other than Stephen because he knew they wouldn't come after him for the deaths as they were more likely to focus on avoiding recapture and probably didn't care all that much that slavers were dead.
      • Django needs to kill Lara. Hes murdered a lot of white people and is planning to destroy Candieland. If he leaves her alive, shes guaranteed to tell the authorities and if that happened Django and Broomhilda would never get out of Mississippi alive. Killing Lara was an absolute necessity.
    • Django IS racist - it's a credit to Tarantino that he can still make the guy sympathetic. Not going the PC route, since a lot of his racism is justified by his "us vs. them" slave/master outlook on race relations, but the fact that the guy says "Killing white folks and getting paid for it? Sounds good to me." Shows he has a certain disdain for most caucasians. The movie itself reinforces this, somewhat, by portraying all Whites non-essential to the plot as extreme rednecks.
    • Almost all: the sheriff in the bounty-hunting montage knows Django well enough to invite him into his house for cake. Schultz by himself is already a huge statistical outlier for the pre-war American South, so the fact that Django keeps running into racist rednecks isn't the film color-coding its villains; it's Truth in Television.
    • Lara was essentially complicit in Candie's schemes. Notice how at least several days have passed since the first shootout, and it's still business as usual in Candy Land when Django returns. In Django's eyes, she's no better than any other Southern slaveholder.
    • I'm having a hard time understanding why it would racist to kill the people who run the plantation responsible for brutalizing your wife. His motivation is personal revenge; he's not leading a Nat Turner-style slave revolt.
      • If that's the case, why didn't Django plug the Kitchen Slave lady(the one who was shown to be second to Stephen as far as house slaves went) and Candie's fuck-toy slave as well? As I pointed out before, Lara came off as rather detached from the overall brutality that her brother and Stephen were doing, and thus it just felt rather cruel that Django went and gunned her down for no real reason other than "she's the sister of Calvin."
      • Can it be cruel and yet not racist?
      • Plus the Kitchen Lady wasn't complicit. Django didn't kill Stephen because of his position in the house; he killed him because he was a scheming villain who nearly put him back into slavery again.
    • Lara was completely passive. While she was never shown to be particularly cruel (at least, not until Calvin's death) she didn't object to the racism either. She is the apathetic white who, while not cruel sadists like Calvin, wasn't an abolitionist like Schultz and didn't do anything to prevent the cruelty at Candieland. She symbolizes the apathy that allows tyranny to exists, so Django blew her across the room.
      • While the offing of Lara was never as big of a problem in my book, there's something profoundly *wrong* with that line of argumentation. I don't know about you, but killing every single passive German whose acquiescence to the horror of Nazism or American Southerner whose acquiescence to the Antebellum/Confederate agenda helped ensure those things were perpetuated would be MONSTROUS. I'm not saying these people should be given candy canes and a pat on the back for it, but at some point moral agency has to step in and dictate the putting of a can on vengeance. Patton didn't execute German civilians, he forced them to parade through a death camp; the Red Army (largely) shot them out of hand, and looking at the formation of East Germany and the resurgence of Neo-Nazism in the ex-GDR probably give some idea about what gets people and society to learn better. The only reasons this didn't bother me in the movie was because A: frankly, Lara was never entirely passive (see the "tortured to death" bit below) and B: Even if she was, it would be more or less very much in Django's character to at least *consider* doing so (not unlike the horrible bastardization that was- well- Inglorious Bastards and how Hans Landa is almost if not as sympathetic as the Bastards themselves...Just No.).
      • The argument might have been aimed more towards the purposes of Lara's symbolic position then an actual point-blank statement that all passive participants to an evil act should be shot so hard they leave the room.
  • Why did Billy Crash yell out "D-jango"? The only way he could have known there was a silent D to mispronounce in the first place was if he had somehow read his name somewhere.
    • Because it was funny.
    • Remember when Django was caught and hanging? Billy Crash walked in and said "Found your saddlebags and books of figures." He would have read Django's name in that information.
  • Candie just keeps intact skulls around in case he needs to give a phrenology lesson?
    • In another scene he talks about "his colleagues in the field of phrenology" which tells me he's a bit of an amateur scientist, and phrenologists in real life collected interesting skulls.
    • He really likes the "Alas poor Yorick" scene and finally had another use for that skull.
  • The scenes with the Klan confused me. Did they first circle the wagon, then talk about the hoods, then circle the wagon again?
    • It was a flashback, they talked about the hoods before circling the wagon we where just shown the charge first.
    • Another interpretation could be this shot is intended to show the raid fantasized as going ideally before cutting to the rather laughable reality that the masks are not even properly prepared.
  • Why do so many people hold up Lara selling Django to the mines as being so evil? It seems obvious she did it out revenge for the death of her brother. I can understand the arguments that her general complicity in slavery makes her villainous but a lot of people seem to cite her selling Django as something done For the Evulz rather than in rage and grief.
    • From the subtext of the conversation, I strongly feel that Lara was only slightly involved in the decision to sell Django to the mines. The way Stephen spoke made it pretty clear that selling Django to the mines was his idea and that he'd manipulated everyone to make them think it was Lara's. She's not evil like Candie, just a symptom of the culture in which she was raised and an easy mark for a manipulative bastard like Stephen.
    • Because its such an out there and cruel Fate Worse than Death that even with her being grief stricken thats still fairly horrible of her to do.
    • Well for one thing Django didn't kill Candie, that was Schultz. For another, instead of simply having him killed or arrested she decided to have him tortured to death.
      • Django did still shoot dozens of her workers and essentially ruin her house. And given the way she seems to detatch herself from the issues of slavery, I doubt she knows the extent of the cruelt workers at the mines are shown. All she seemingly has is Stephen's word that it would be a more fitting punishment than death.
      • What evidence do you have she detaches herself from the issues of slavery? That one line where she says she doesn't want to look at Hildy's wipped back? I'm sorry but that just tells me she's not a complete and utter sadist and is easily counteracted by the fact just scenes before hand she was gussying Hildy up to be raped by Dr. Schultz. We have no reason to believe that she isn't just as racist as everyone else who works at and runs Candieland or that she is ignorant of what Le-Quint Dickey is like.
      • It's possible for both views to be correct, as well as the theory that I posted above. Lara seems somewhat emotionally fragile (her reaction to seeing Brunhilde's whipped back provoked an immediate and strong response, unusually) and, yes, detached from the realities of slavery. I have a hard time believing that Candie brings her along to his Mandingo fights, for example! Someone in that kind of precarious emotional state would be easy to manipulate, and if you go along with the idea that Stephen was a Manipulative Bastard who was able to feed her the idea carefully, it's the kind of disproportionate retribution that someone like that might latch onto against the person who came along and rocked her comfy boat.
      • It wasn't an emotional response to the horror—she was ashamed because it was inappropriate at the dinner table. She did not personally care about Broomhilda. As pointed out, she was about to subject Django to brutal torture, which is only stopped because Stephen thinks up a better one and slyly suggests it to her. Django did not kill her brother, and if he killed anyone else, it was in reasonable self defense, as they were about to turn and kill him. She was not innocent. As someone said above, her sadism was limited by the lack of power she had in her society, not by her bleeding heart.
  • The entire premise of the plot. Why does Schultz need Django in the first place? To spot the Brittle brothers, yes, but Schultz knows what all his other bounties look like, nothing of this sort ever happens again, and there's nothing that suggests the Brittle brothers are particularly hard to locate. Going by fake names is a complication but certainly not unheard of among bandits. I could see Schultz just randomly running across Django and realizing he knows the dudes, but deliberately seeking him out? And why Django, specifically? Surely he wasn't the only one on the plantation.
    • With his other bounties he had a wanted poster, the exception being the sheriff. In the case of the Brittle brothers all he had was a warrant explaining who they were. He had to track them down and the way he decided to do that was to use somebody who could confirm what they looked like. Him choosing Django for that job was probably a matter of convenience, since he had just been sold (auctions have records) and was still in transit, making it easy to buy/steal him from his new owners.
    • Not to mention that a (former) slave would be far more likely to help kill three white overseers than a pre-Civil War southern white would. Anyone else might have refused to identify the brothers or double-crossed Schultz before his job was finished.
    • Also, Shultz has a case of Complexity Addiction. It's a weakness of his that eventually gets him killed.
  • A lot is made of the fact that Django has to kill a man in front of his son, but why is the killing necessary in the first place? The poster explicitly says "dead OR alive," and the outlaw isn't exactly in a position to resist a pair of armed killers. I could see Schultz being so jaded that he would rather kill the man than worry about transporting him alive, but Django never raises the point either after his initial protest.
    • It goes back to Shultz, really. We're shown again and again that he's a killer at heart (even if he is a sympathetic one). The killing isn't, in fact, necessary, but Shultz doesn't take his prisoners alive (too much hassle, and potentially dangerous). Shultz pushes Django into that killing to bring him around to Shultz's worldview.
    • Django also doesn't seem to be entirely against the killing of the outlaw in and of itself, just against killing him in front of his son. The option of taking the outlaw alive isn't on the table, rightly or wrongly, and Django knows that, but he still has some trouble with the specifics.
  • Why didn't Django allow Schultz to save D'Artagnan? To keep up the ruse to fool Candie?
    • Basically, yes.
  • Why were there so many Mooks in the big shootout at the end? There's no reason for Calvin to have that many white employees.
    • Well, not necessarily, but bear in mind that the image of the planter aristocracy isn't the whole picture of slavery. There were a great deal of small and medium planters, who owned only 10 or 20 slaves. Every one would be invested in keeping the system of slavery maintained, and in preventing any black uprising. Armed blacks like Django were pure Nightmare Fuel for Southern planters. It could be that Candie's neighbors turned out to help him, given a threat to one was ultimately a threat to all - if Candy was overthrown, then the other slaves might get ideas. It's why Big Daddy is so keen to make a lesson out of killing Django: if he lets him whip and then execute two white men without retribution, Big Daddy's slaves might not fear white oppression quite so much...
      • Also, there probably is a reason for Candie to have that many white employees. We see... what? A few dozen? A good number of plantations had *hundreds* of slaves, and that is a Lot to keep in check. To top it off, Candie's plantation is the fourth largest in Tennessee, and is basically a self-contained economy in its' own right on top of being tapped into the wider global one. So you would need a lot of manpower to provide security alone, nevermind do things like specialized labor that wouldn't be trusted to slaves, transporting, etc. If anything, it's probably lucky Candie hired so few of them.
  • Since it's so unheard of for blacks to ride on horses, how come Django and Broomhilda manage it perfectly the first time we see either of them getting on a horse?
    • Maybe their runaway attempt involved stealing horses from the plantation they were at and they practiced for a while before making their escape.
    • IRL, slaves were sometimes used to do the menial tasks of having a horse that their master couldn't be arsed to do, like feeding, cleaning, and even taking the horse out for excercise. They likely learned how to ride the horses from being assigned to take the horse on walks around the property. What was unheard of was a black person riding their own horse in the company of whites, since freedmen tended to be poor and lacking in the resources to purchase and maintain a horse.
  • Why does no one in the film notice the Incest Subtext between Candie and his sister? He wasn't exactly subtle about it. Incest has always been taboo, so it's strange that no one even comments on it.
    • Because no one there was in a position where they'd want to upset Candie. They all want to stay on his good side.
    • Besides, this was the South. Stereotypes have to come from somewhere, right?
  • Why did Schultz think Candie wouldn't sell Broomhilda to him if he showed direct interest? The fact that both he and Broomhilda speak German is a reasonable excuse for why he'd be interested in purchasing her. Feels like the whole "feigning interest in Mandingo fights" angle is unnecessary.
    • This was my thinking exactly. An ideal plan: Schultz goes alone to Candyland, says, "I heard you have a German-speaking slave and I want someone to speak German to, how much?" Plan over.
    • The concept is that Schultz relentless overplans and just cannot accept the simple way out (this gets him killed).
      • Tarantino specifically states this in an interview when asked. Basically Schultz is such a control freak he doesn't want to provide Candie with any way to be able to say "No". Would asking Candie directly to buy Broomhilda have worked? Yes. Candie didn't care about Hildy any more than a millionaire cares about his toilet paper. But Schultz's character flaw is what led to the plan he attempted. Offering Candie an extraordinary amount of money for a third-rate Mandingo then offering to buy Hildy at market value prevents Candie from being able to say "No."
    • That and maybe Schultz suspected that Candie would not want to part with a slave that could speak German. I mean, knowing Candie, he would probably have paraded Broomhilda around the dinner table having her speak German to entertain the guests, and he would have likely used her to show what a good planter he is for letting his slaves read and write. Yeah, you'd think that would be all Schultz had to do, but Schultz, as said above, can't think things through logically, and even if he did, he would have probably concluded that there would be no way Candie would sell a German-speaking slave.
      • The explanation that he gives in the movie is that, if he were to go out of his way and approach Candie for such a specific request, that Candie would recognize that this slave is somehow very valuable to Schultz and charge him a fortune for her.
      • On the other hand, Hilda was rebellious and had already tried to run away. I'm no expert but I imagine having a slave like that was bad for the ranch and no one would want to purchase an unruly slave. Candy may have tried to hold out, but if Schultz approached without seeming desperate then Candy may have just sold her cheap and been glad to get rid of her.
  • Big Daddy won't allow any black man to ride a horse on his property and is very particular about ensuring that no black man is ever treated like a full white man, yet he allows his slaves to carry guns, as seen when he arrives at the site where Django killed the Brittle brothers.
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