Film Review - Django Unchained (2012)
Quentin Tarantino is back and looks to pay homage to the Western Genre as he is a well known fan of Sergio Leone, director of the Dollars trilogy which revolutionised Westerns. Tarantino goes back to a tainted chapter in American History and mixes it with the Western Genre, a German Doctor and Loads of Violence.
Plot- Django (Jamie Foxx) is freed by Dr Schultz (Waltz) who is a bounty hunter and asks him to help out kill some slave masters and then Schultz helps him get his Wife freed as well. Which brings them to “Candyland” a cotton plantation owned by Calvin Candie (DiCaprio) who owns his wife.
Review- Okay lets point out the elephant that is just sitting in the room. You have Tarantino who already has used the N word in previous movies. Now he takes on a period of history that is fabled for the word. No Word of a lie it must be used about 200 times. It’s not the best film to really quote. I understand that the context of the film allows this but I do think it is overused. We all know that it was used in that time period but the amount of exploitation to this is over the top. Also I see why people are offended by this as it is in a time of horrible monstrosities and this is a spaghetti Western.
Enough of the controversies, it can blind a film’s potential. Like any of Tarantino film it is shot beautifully, nearly every shot is a homage to the old western’s. The tracking landscapes are reminiscent of these and the soundtrack is ripped straight from old westerns. This is what this film, a thank you letter to the genre. With a little of Tarantino mixed in. And exactly what you though you’d get, you get. You get everything that is known to Tarantino. Snap witty dialogue, ultra violence, beautiful cinematography and a Tarantino Cameo.
Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx and Samuel L. Jackson have amazing performances in this film. In that order as well. Waltz Character, Dr Schultz is a funny, witty and the staple of this film. He is the main character in the first part of the film. He knows all the answers and it is comforting having a character that knows what to do but contrasting when he doesn’t, it’s scary. Waltz creates a character that outshines the rest and that is hard with OTT characters in this film. Such as Calvin Candie and his akin slave Steven. DiCaprio’s Calvin Candie as first seems a reasonable man, taking in the context of the time but he has a hint of madness and fragility about him and when he snaps. It’s terrifying, definitely the best performances this year. t’s just a shame that only one of them can get an award.
Samuel L Jackson’s Slave Stephen is exactly the Samuel L Jackson we all love. He’s over the top, hilarious and powerful even though he is a house slave. Jamie Foxx’s Django is also a delight and has my favourite quote of the film (kind of the only line of the speech without the N’ Word) “My Name’s Django, The D is silent.” He’s a sharp witted character. At time provides comical relief, he is a great lead role. However he is overshadowed by DiCaprio and Waltz. It’s great performances all round.
The romance of the story, Django and his wife, is taking the back seat here, it is the reason why Django is so determined but we so little of the two together that we get to see the intimacy of the two. I would of love to see Kerry Washington’s Character more but she gets about 2 lines in the movie. Tarantino’s cameo is a bit surreal. I don’t know if he was going for Southern America or Australian. The best scene is the film is definitely the Ku Klux Klan scene. Hilarious and also surreal. Funniest scene of the year.
The biggest downside to this film is the length. It could of been shorten as their were about 3 endings. The 2nd ending was the perfect one to finish on. Also their were some over the top bits that were just a bit over, over the top. Also there are sometimes where it plays the comedy side too much and needs some emotion there. The love angle could of been perfect but it failed on that.
Overall - A beautiful shot film, it is basically what you’d expect. A homage to the Western Genre but with the mix of Tarantino. The Length is too long but it’s still an amazing film that is funny, wonderful performances and deserves the awards it’s going to get. Another Masterpiece from Tarantino. Film Rating - 8.5/10