Friday, February 1, 2013

Movie Review: Django Unchained

Django Unchained is a film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino and starring Jamie Foxx (Django), Christoph Waltz (Dr. Shutlz), Kerry Washington (Broomhilda), Leonardo DiCaprio (Candie), and Samuel L. Jackson (Stephen). It follows Django's transformation beginning as a slave in 1858 USA and later his search for his wife.

This is classic Tarantino with blood and gore galore, a musical score that is both unusual and haunting, unexpected situations, and snappy dialog with comedic elements. I am a fan of Tarantino but I have to admit that I haven't seen one of his movies since Kill Bill Volume 1 and 2. His movies are extra violent and I have shied away from that in recent years. However, the dialog is witty and engaging, which is what really draws me to his films.

Django is themed in the westerns/gunslinger genre with an underlying feeling of the epics of mythology. Django journey in his search for his wife parallels a German myth of Broomhilda told by Dr. Shultz. It is a hero's story and so is Django's. We see the hero's transformation as he prepares for his greatest feat. I liked this element most about the plot. I enjoyed the characters. They are quirky and realistic with a bit of the fantastic. That fantasy element is why we go to the movies. We're thinking: "This couldn't happen in real life, but if it did...this is how it would play out."

The actors did a pretty good job with the sensitive subject of slavery and brutality of early America. Tarantino did not pull back from the atrocities of the time, but he did not linger on or glorify them. The setting and costumes were fitting and often beautiful. Although at times it did seem like I could detect the green screen images. The editing is not always as tight as it could be. There is a part in the climax that I thought the pacing was a little off. However, I suppose the director wanted to make sure the audience saw all the elements of that moment.

Overall, I liked the movie. There are many shocking moments, a lot of violence, realistic and comedic banter, and romantic moments. This film is not for the faint of heart or those who cringe at the N-word. I counted around 75 but of course I lost count as the plot tension increased. I've always found that either you like Tarantino films or you don't. There's no in between. So if you're a fan of Tarantino's work, you will not be disappointed.

Rating 4/5


  1. If the slightly rambling Django Unchained is 'lesser Tarantino' -- you know, only a B instead of an A -- it's still a heady, delirious good time.

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