Django Unchained (2012) – Film Review

Django Unchained Movie PosterDjango Unchained

Starring Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson

Directed and written by Quentin Tarantino

IMDB Rating: 8.5

Tarantino aims to create yet another classic, this time using a genre that hasn’t been big for many decades. A favourite of Tarantino’s, westerns haven’t been mainstream cinema since the 70’s, but he does more than a good job of selling this film to a modern audience.

Set 2 years before the Civil War, Django (Foxx) is a slave separated from his wife (Washington) in the slave trade. Dr. King Schultz (Waltz) is a German bounty hunter who buys Django and asks him to join him on his travels in exchange for his freedom. They form a close friendship, and once Django’s hunting skills improve Schultz decides to help him get his wife back. They search for her, and find out that she now works in the infamous Candieland for the dangerous Calvin Candie (DiCaprio)

I do like the story in this film. The thing that impressed me the most was the time span, what with the back story of Django and his wife, and the winter break in the middle. I’m used to watching 1 ½ hour films that span a few months (tops) in the characters life, so to see a big film that takes its time to develop the character and the bounty-hunting duo’s relationship was quite refreshing. Usually I stay away from films over 2 hours long, because it is usually a seriously dragged out story and I quickly lose interest. However, I had no such problems with this film, which actually surprised me! Also, I love the music in this film, created by Luis Enriquez Bacalov.

I love Jamie Foxx playing Django, and honestly cannot think of anyone who would have done a better job with the starring role, but it’s the Academy Award winning performance of Christoph Waltz that steals the limelight here. Himself and his character almost personify everything that Tarantino wants in his films. Dr. Schultz is a funny, odd but super cool German gunslinger that is a constant joy to watch. Everything from his body language to his voice is spot on, and he turns what could have been a sidekick into the true lead character for the majority of the film. DiCaprio delivered an entertaining and passionate performance playing the bad guy of the film, a rare thing to see him doing. Another person playing a weird role was Tarantino’s sidekick, Samuel L. Jackson, who wound up playing the ageing sidekick to DiCaprio’s Calvin Candie. He did a decent job with the character, but I don’t think that’s a style of character that he thrives with, and as such was pretty forgettable for his pretty memorable standards.

Quentin Tarantino did a good job with the direction, and general feel of this film. The style was obviously inspired by the seemingly endless amounts of western movies made around the 60’s and 70’s, with an almost Polaroid feel to some of the shots. Tarantino is a man who knows how to make something look awesome, even if it means sacrificing a serious edge that it could have kept. The fake, exaggerated blood is a perfect example of this.

Overall, this is a dramatic, funny, and super cool film that brings the western genre into the 21st century, without losing any of the magic that made it big in the first place. I’m not sure that this is the best of Tarantino’s films, I haven’t even seen all of them, but out of the ones I’ve seen this seems the most re-watchable.

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