When a film is bad or mediocre, there is a lot to write about it. When a film is as perfect as Django Unchained, one could keep the review short: Go and watch it. You will enjoy it.
The plot is set in the southern United States in 1858. Dr King Schultz (Christoph Waltz of Inglourious Basterds fame) is a German bounty hunter who is both linguistically and morally superior to his American contemporaries who understand neither his stilted English nor his distaste for slavery. Dr Schultz buys the slave Django (Jamie Foxx) from a somewhat uncooperative owner because Django can identify the Brittle brothers whom Dr Schultz wishes to find and capture or kill, although he clearly prefers the killing option. Dr Schultz and Django are less master and slave but rather turn into partners in the bounty hunting business. Jamie Foxx plays one of the coolest Western heroes of all time. In reward for Django’s help, Dr Schultz then helps Django to find his wife who has been sold as a slave to the plantation of Calvin Candie (Leonardo di Caprio in a mad and evil impersonation of the Old South). They embark on an anti-racism, anti-slavery rampage which is bursting with energy, passion and violence.
The acting by the aforementioned and by most other actors (especially by Samuel L Jackson) is fantastic. The music is fantastic. The cinematography is fantastic. Django Unchained abounds with references to other works of film, among them of course the soundtrack of the original Django (1966) and a meeting of the old Django (Franco Nero) with the young one.
As you would expect from a film made by Quentin Tarantino, it is at times very brutal, with a forced fight between two slaves, the whipping of Django’s wife and an encounter with dogs (which confirmed my fear of those creatures) among the most horrifying scenes. The shootouts on the other hand are so overblown that they are almost funny (the character played by Quentin Tarantino himself dies in a massive explosion). The film also does have a lot of funny scenes, from great dialogues to the Ku Klux Klan scene. In fact, I already had to burst out in laughter at the very opening of the film when Dr Schultz’s wagon with the wobbling tooth came riding along.
Django Unchained is a Western action thriller comedy which excels in each of these four genres. The film is 2 hours and 45 minutes long, but I did not notice the time at all. A great film, which is not a minute too long.
Wow! What a great positive review. Maybe by the time I am in a place where Netflix is available, it will be there!
What is a Netflix?
Interesting review. The film has gotten a lot of “heat” here in the States for the overly (overtly?) violent scenes, especially all the gunfights. Then again, there are a lot of VERY sensitive folk out there with the rash of gun violence we’ve had. I’ll catch it when it rolls around to cable, can’t afford to GET to the nearest theatre, much less get in!
Some of the links in my review will take you to actual scenes of the movie, among them one of the gunfights. This way you can get a taste of it already.
great film went to see it last night, cringed at some of the grahpic voilence and beating but it brought it home how bad it actually probably was at for the african amercian slaves the time. Great acting by the guys who played django and dr schultz…
I agree. If the film had been less graphic in the depiction of the violence against the slaves and also in the depiction of the racism, it would have sugar-coated the past.
“[It] is a Western action thriller comedy which excels in each of these four genres”… that’s a fantastic sentence which basically hits the nail on the head in terms of why, I think, so many have divided passions concerning Tarantino in general.
*Disclaimer: I haven’t actually seen this movie…but I plan to eventually.
In my humble opinion, as someone who is a fan of much of Tarantino’s other work, the detractors are the type of people who just can’t handle their pre-ordained genres all mixed together willy-nilly. In other words, the same types of people who can’t handle various food items touching on one plate. They want to go into it, for the most part, knowing exactly what to expect (yawn) not recognizing that the process by which the seemingly disparate parts all come together is where the true art lies.
For anyone interested, there was a movie that came out a couple of years ago which I thought was brilliant, and I was surprised to find that critically speaking it was considered incredibly controversial due to the nature and amount of graphic violence… The Killer Inside Me, starring Casey Affleck, Kate Hudson and Jessica Alba, amongst others. I recommend checking it out. In general, sometimes I think the narratives that most unsettle the public are those that hit the closest to home and ring the most true. I think that Tarantino is a master of exaggeration, and a main issue is that some are just uncomfortable with the level of exaggeration, whether it be violence or humor or whatnot.
Thank you for this review. I like to compare thoughts on a movie. For me Django was an example of old school Tarantino. He never gave more bizzare plot twists or more confusing music. I love that he has his set of actors that he likes to work with and it is great that he used Christoph Waltz again.
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