The first trailer for Django Unchained doesn't officially premiere until tonight at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time, but it popped up online this morning, and it keeps popping up, despite the best efforts of the Weinstein Company. So let's jump to conclusions: It looks like Tarantino's finally made the pure blaxploitation film that Jackie Brown suggested he might have in him. Specifically, Django — starring Jamie Foxx as a freed slave on what the movie advertisements refer to as a roaring rampage of revenge, Christoph Waltz as his bounty-hunting ally, and Leonardo DiCaprio as, I don't know, Arliss Loveless from Wild Wild West, maybe? — looks like a Quentified take on '70s blaxploitation Westerns, and specifically the sub-sub-subcategory of slave-revolt revenge flicks like The Legend of N***er Charley, and maybe a little bit like Richard Fleischer's insane 1975 plantation drama Mandingo, which Tarantino has raved about as the last "full-on, gigantic, big-budget exploitation movie" released by a major studio until Showgirls.
Blaxploitation was a sneakily progressive genre, and the black Western might have been its most sneakily-progressive offshoot. While these movies are totally nuts, profoundly un-PC, and not necessarily, y'know, good, they're by definition important, because they rewired primal American movie myths around black heroes, and frequently aired truths about the bloody legacy of racism in this country that mainstream Westerns didn't touch, something we can assume Quentin Tarantino figured out around age 14 in a grindhouse theater that smelled like spilled Mad Dog. Anyway, we can probably also assume that as with Inglourious Basterds — which both was and wasn't the World War II guys-on-a-mission movie people expected — crossing another neglected pulp genre off his bucket list isn't the only thing on Tarantino's mind here. He's been talking about wanting to use the framework of an exploitation film to deal with big American topics for years — he once told Charlie Rose that the only biopic he'd be interested in doing would be the story of the white abolitionist John Brown — so we can assume this one won't just be about Jamie Foxx saying cold-blooded shit and popping caps in Klansmen. On the other hand: We would be pretty much completely OK with an entire movie about Jamie Foxx saying cold-blooded shit and popping caps in Klansmen, with occasional cutaways to DiCaprio drinking from a coconut pimp-chalice and Don Johnson dressed like Colonel Sanders. Historical!