The master of homage Quentin Tarantino made his timely return to the big screen back in January with another entry to his ‘Hate, Murder and Revenge’ trilogy. For this film we head West as his homage to Spaghetti Western Django Unchained which prepares for it’s home release, but are we getting another classic dialogue driven piece of Tarantino magic or simply a tin of spaghetti hoops pretending to be vintage Tarantino?
So what’s Django Unchained all about?
Jamie Foxx plays the titular character Django freed from slavery thanks to German bounty hunter Dr King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) as Django is the only person who can identify the 3 Brittle Brother Schultz is hunting. In return of finding and slaying the brother Schultz offers a chance for Django to find and free his wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) whom Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) an evil plantation owner is holding.
Django Unchained is undoubtedly trademark Tarantino. Cathartic, Ultra-Violent, darkly humorous, audacious with the expected stylish retro style soundtrack. But is it bold enough to say this film is his most entertaining?
Not quite but not far from it. Django Unchained is a film that’s blessed with some fantastic scenes rather than an overall fantastic film, but thanks to some Mel Brook Blazing Saddles satirical style comedy with the Klu Klux Klansmen squabbling over the size of the holes of their masks gives the film another dimension. But this film isn’t all fun and games as throughout we get stark reminders this is a cruel world especially if your a slave. The slaves are subjected to ‘hotbox’ with the men forced into Mandingo fights that make illegal unlicensed boxing fights look legal!
We can’t say anything bad about the performance of the cast as they all gave excellent performances. I had only one minor disappointment in the cast was the lack of screentime of Django’s wife Broomhilda especially as she was the main driving force for husband. Leonardo DiCaprio shows us once again why he is one of Hollywood’s finest actors, maturing in the last twenty years into a modern day version of a Golden Age Cinema icon. Even when the films he stars in are disappointing (J.Edgar, The Great Gatsby)his acting ability is second to none keeping you intrigued in what your watching. As for great films like Django Unchained he makes a good film become an exceptional film. As Calvin Candie DiCaprio captures his sadistic, malevolent bullish nature perfectly, his charm would fool anyone and his unpredictability is venomously infectious. The Depth and range of characters he can deliver is truly exceptional as he literately bleeds for the roles he plays which ironically he did in this one!
Jamie Foxx delivers a honest convincing performance and I’ve seen some critics call him the weak spot of the film (maybe) but in his defence I have to say he was overall the better choice than Will Smith. Christoph Waltz once again excels in his role like he did in Inglorious Basterds, versatile, smart talking determined character. It wouldn’t be a Tarantino film these days without Waltz and you could say the sam thing with Samuel L Jackson too. Jackson play’s Richard a perfect example of the time showcasing the vicious world the film is set in though what he did need was a Pulp Fiction style Classic Royale With Cheese scene to really appreciate the nastiness of Richard.
Like the regular cast, it would n’t be a Tarantino film with controversy in some shape or form and Django Unchained has a few most notably the use of the ‘N’ word. Ironically Samuel L Jackson’s character Richard was the worst offender, however how close to comfort the regular use of the word was when slavery was enforced is up for debate. What we can say is Tarantino delivers a slice of life from the era, violent, oppressive cruel world. At nearly 3 hours long it’s no denying Django Unchained is about 30 to 60 minutes too long and its when the film drags into it’s ‘grindhouse part’ things lose momentum a little. Some may argue the violence and bloodsheed was too cartoonish however grindhouse is all about the bloodshed and last part of the film bullets are let rip. As for the length of the film what you could ask is was the film too long or was the story too short?
Django Unchained is an outlandish piece of pulp violence. It’s not completely ‘Western’ but it has great trademark Tarantino dialogue, dark humour which is another love letter from the director to cult cinema. It’s not quite a bonafide classic but if your a Tarantino fan in your eyes it will be!
Western | USA, 2013 | 18 | 20th May 2013 (UK) | Sony Pictures Home Ent | Dir: Quentin Tarantino|
Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson|Buy : Blu-ray (+ UV Copy) / DVD (+ UV Copy)