Django Unchained (2012) – movie review

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Quentin Tarantino. A lot of critics and audiences adore him and a lot of critics and audiences despise him. Within the latter, he’s often criticized for his overuse of violence and swearing. Within the former, he’s tenderly praised for his innovative storytelling and icy dialogue. I’m among the former.

I recently placed his latest film The Hateful Eight as the best film of 2015. But for some reason the film garnered mixed reviews from critics and audiences with varying opinions sparked from its length, use of 70mm film and excessive violence. This got me thinking quite a bit about Tarantino and his films and why they’re so unique and loved/hated. So I’ve decided to review all 7 of his films pre-The Hateful Eight excluding Jackie Brown (which I’ve already done) starting with his previous western, Django Unchained.

Django Unchained follows a black slave who is bought by German bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz. The German agrees to free Django in exchange for his assistance in locating three brothers known as the Brittle brothers, brothers responsible for punishing and torturing slaves if they don’t do as expected. As well as giving freedom to Django, Dr. Schultz agrees to help Django rescue with his still-slave wife Broomhilda, who is currently owned by plantation owner Calvin Candie.

If the basic premise could be summarised in one word (and it can), that word be ‘Revenge’. The whole story is about a freed slave with a lot of anger towards white people (incredibly justifiable anger) and a seemingly infinite supply of ammunition.

It feels as if the western genre was made for Quentin Tarantino. Spaghetti western films have always called for gritty stories and violence although during the 60s (heyday of the spaghetti western), there was only so much violence you were allowed to put in a movie. But Django Unchained doesn’t see any restrictions. There is so much violence in this film that a montage of all of the scenes with moving blood could be produced and turned into a 30 minute extra.

Expected violence notification aside, I love Django Unchained. It’s not my favorite film from Tarantino but I love Django Unchained.

I haven’t seen much of Jamie Foxx’s work but from what I’ve heard, it’s good. And from what I’ve seen in Django Unchained, it’s great.

Christoph Waltz won a completely deserved Academy Award and Golden Globe for his role as the incredibly likeable and totally badass Dr. King Schultz, ex-dentist turned bounty hunter. From the second he rides into the frame you think “this guy’s my friend”.

Leonardo DiCaprio provides possibly one of the only supporting roles he’s ever given (as he’s usually a good face to sell movies (and he’s a great actor)) and in this film, he provides one of the greatest villains in the history of cinema.

*There is a scene in the film where Leo smashes a glass on a table and his hand starts bleeding. It wasn’t fake blood. The glass actually made him bleed but he continued the scene anyway. Just thought that’d be interesting.*

I felt there were two characters that could’ve been given more screentime. One of them being Samuel L. Jackson who is brilliant in this film despite the fact that he joins the story too late. And Kerry Washington who I can’t recall saying a single word.

Robert Richardson did the cinematography for Django Unchained and he absolutely nailed it. The cinematography in this film is beautiful and that doesn’t mean there are a lot of artsy shots of landscapes and sunsets. Robert Richardson makes simple scenes of characters talking at a table look beautiful.

Quentin Tarantino’s script is a little ill paced compared to his other films. For a large part of the first half there is no stopping in excitement and action but in the second half, there are some moments that could be cut out.

Django Unchained is a completely bloody and completely entertaining revenge western if you can handle insane amounts of blood. Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz are great and Leonardo DiCaprio is a fantastic villain. Django Unchained isn’t Quentin Tarantino’s best film but it’s certainly up there.

What did you think of Django Unchained? Leave your comment on the side and don’t forget to follow my Instagram page for movie posters.

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