Film Appreciation Analysis
Set in the South two years before the Civil War, Django is a slave whose brutal history with his former owners lands him face-to-face with German-born bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz. Schultz is on the trail of the murderous Brittle brothers, and only Django can lead him to his bounty. The unorthodox Schultz acquires Django with a promise to free him upon the capture of the Brittles - dead or alive. Success leads Schultz to free Django, though the two men choose not to go their separate ways. Instead, Schultz seeks out the South's most wanted criminals with Django by his side. Honing vital hunting skills, Django remains focused on one goal: finding and rescuing Broomhilda, the wife he lost to the slave trade long ago. Django and Schultz's search ultimately leads them to Calvin Candie, the owner of "Candyland," an infamous plantation where slaves are groomed to battle each other for sport. Schultz arranges a meeting to buy slaves from Candie in which he will pick Broomhilda and save her. Candie's house servant becomes suspicious that Django and Broomhilda know each other, and that the exchange is so she can be freed. Candie proceeds anyway. Right when the deal was to be signed, Schultz shoots Candie through the heart. Schultz then gets killed by Candie's back up. Django must fight his way out of Candie's house and save his wife.
The scene I want to focus on and dissect is the part where Schultz kills Calvin Candie. This scene is considered to be the climax of the film as two of the main characters are shot dead resulting into a much larger shootout between Django and the plantation workers. The scene begins with Schultz reluctantly signing a bill of purchase after his plan to steal Broomhilda was foiled. Tension is filled throughout the scene and it begins with an extreme close-up shot over the shoulder of Calvin Candie as he signs the bill of purchase and classical harp music plays in the background. The camera then cuts to a two shot of Django and Broomhilda holding each other with slight grins as they watch Candie sign the papers. We then see one of Candie’s henchman cutting a piece of white cake while still grasping his pistol for security. The camera pans with the henchman as he walks, cake in one hand and pistol in the other, past Dr. Schultz where it then becomes a two shot as Dr. Schultz sits, visibly angered and annoyed, and stares at the wall.
Another close-up is used as Candie puts the final stamp on the bill of purchase and the camera fades to Dr. Schultz who remains in the same position, sitting in the chair in the adjacent room, twisting his beard in distressed thought. Schultz is having flashbacks of when Calvin Candie let his dogs visciousally attack a runaway slave and he couldn’t do anything about it or else he would’ve compromised his mission. A tracking shot is then used to follow Candie as he brings the bill of purchase over to Schultz for him to sign. The camera angle is changed to a medium close-up focused on the Schultz providing his signature followed by a mise-en-scene shot where all of the other characters in the room are huddled close to each other and focused on Schultz signing the paper. After he is finished with the paperwork, Schultz hand it to Candie and begins to walk out with Django and Broomhilda seen through a medium shot.
As they are about to leave the room Candie shouts, “Hold on just a second doctor!” Schultz turns around and, through an over-the-shoulder medium shot, Candie continues, “In Chickisaw County a deal ain’t done until the two parties have shaken hands…” The camera cuts to a close-up of Schultz who then says, “If you insist”, in a sarcastic tone. The camera then cuts to a POV shot through Candie’s view as Schultz begins to walk toward him. The camera zooms into Schultz’ hand as he begins to extend it, to shake with Candie, but pulls out a concealed pistol from up his sleeve and shoots Candie. An extreme close up is taken of Calvin Candie’s face, struck with awe, when he is hit with the bullet. This turns into a long take as Candie stumbles back and falls out of frame. The camera quickly pans to one of the henchmen for a reaction shot where the henchmen screams in shock and anger while rushing to Candie’s dead body.
I chose this scene because of the way it conveys how much tension there is between the characters. It is eerily quite while a harp plays in the backgrounds which only adds to the uneasy feeling. It is a great relief to the audience when Candie is killed and it is also a perfect set-up to the gunfight that happens right after