I got a chance to play the beginning of Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained.” The film starts off with a picture of a parched, rocky desert and the song of the title playing in the background. The main characters’ names are emblazoned onto the screen in bright red and contrast magnificently with the sandy background. Then you see the scarred backs of a line of black men slowly walking at a pace much more measured than the usual gate. There’s a man on a horse in front of the line and a man on a horse in the back of the line. And then the title appears “DJANGO” again in bright red “Unchained” in white. It’s obvious these men are slaves; their ankles are chained and they are being transported under their own bipedal power to wherever they are headed. It’s the beginning of a spaghetti western just before the Civil War and QT captures the flavor like a Ziploc® bag.
It begins to show dusk as the credits continue to roll and this is obviously a march that will have no rest for these poor souls. None. But the action moves on into the evening and the men are still walking and the two men on horses are now holding lanterns on the barrels of their rifles. They’ve walked out of the desert and are now in a wooded area. Suddenly through the trees the front man on the horse notices a lantern in the distance and a small wagon with a tooth on top of it appears and the first man on the horse yells out,”Who’s that stumbling along in the dark…” He discovers that it’s a gentleman, you can tell by the way he’s dressed, who is looking for someone and retorts, “Calm yourself gentlemen, I’m simply a fellow weary traveler and mean you no harm.”
Interst is building, tension is mounting. Who is this guy and what does he really want? As he explains he’s looking for a particular slave and the two guys on the horses are slave traders who are on their way to where they can possible sell them. But the guy in the cart wants to deal now and buy one of them. And then without going into any more detail all hell breaks loose. The action is so swift and spontaneous that it makes the beginning of the “Hateful 8” (soon to be a QT classic), look like a slow IV drip.
But I wasn’t able to complete the movie. I had to turn it off and get to an appointment. I cannot say whether or not the action continues at this frenetic pace or the whole movie dulls down to a pathetic crawl without the highs and lows of QT’s style. It’s happened before. Again, I compare the “Hateful 8.” That action comes in spurts and then for the most part the volley of violence is contained to the very end.
But am I going to go back to the movie? Of course. And that is what most intelligent cigar smokers do even though they know nothing about a particular cigar and its eventual outcome. I smoked an MBombay Mora 5×58 last night and it was a “Django,” immediate flavor – no holding back. I smoked a JSK earlier and it was like the “Hateful 8.” Which cigar is better? Silly question I know, but in this world of instant and immediate gratification, I wonder if there would be some of you who wouldn’t go back to the movie or even try a new cigar because there is no guarantee of excitement or twisted outcome, or forgive me – complexity.
Would you try a cigar on the advice of your tobacconist, your friend’s recommendations, a review, or your own errant pick just out of curiosity because you liked the way the band was designed or how it was packaged, light it up and because of time constraints – never come back to it? But I dare say, you have to give the cigar a chance and even though that chance is going to cost you time and money and maybe inconvenience, the cigar business would plummet to the depths of hell if it weren’t for that itch of inquisitiveness that plagues all men since the time of Adam and Eve. “Come on. Try this fruit”
And what of the one that starts out like the “Hateful 8?” Are you inclined to toss it away, or do you figure you’ve invested your dime in this thing and you’re going to get out of it what you can. You may be surprised as I was in all the action that took place in the last 20 minutes of both the movie and the JSK cigar. But I never would have known that unless I rode it out. The only true way to know a cigar is to try it. Wait it out. Be patient.
And really, what difference would it make? The ones that pass the test of the masses are the ones that sell. The ones that don’t are driven out of the humidor in plastic bags of five for $29.95. And even then it’s a crapshoot that you won’t win every time with that method of purchase.
I will watch the rest of the movie, maybe tonight, maybe not. But I am curious enough to see how the film progresses and finally ends. Or in cigar parlance – finishes.