Film Review: “Django Unchained”

Tarantino fans rejoice!  Django Unchained has finally arrived and boy does it deliver.  Django Unchained contains everything you want in a Quentin Tarantino film.  The witty dialogue, the comedic circumstances, the enticing story, the strong character development, and of course, the brutal violence are all present and accounted for.  For those who have been itching to see a new Tarantino movie ever since the ending credits of Inglorious Basterds, I can assure you that the wait for Django was well worth it.  Tarantino’s spaghetti western is such a fun ride and one of the most enjoyable movie experiences of the year.

Quentin Tarantino is all about breaking the rules of the film industry.  According to every other movie about similar genres, films about Nazi occupied countries or films about slavery must be serious and depressing.  But as Cavin Candie says in Django, “Why don’t the blacks just rise up and kill the whites?”  In Inglorious Basterds, Tarantino broke the rules and had Jewish-Americans rise up and kill the Germans.  In Django Unchained, he breaks the rules again but this time, the topic is slavery.  Django Unchained is set in the south two years before the Civil War.  Django, played by Jamie Foxx (Collateral), is a slave who is approached by German bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz, played by Christoph Waltz (Inglorious Basterds).  Schultz asks Django to help him with his next bounty mission and in return, Schultz will help Django rescue his wife, Broomhilda, from a plantation called Candie Land.

The first thing that must be noticed about Django Unchained, is that the acting is flawless.  Every actor steps up to the plate and knocks it out of the park starting with Jamie Foxx as Django.  There was speculation that Will Smith and Idris Elba were both in line to play the role of Django and as much as I love Idris Elba, I don’t think any actor could have played the part better than Foxx.  Foxx did an excellent job of allowing his character to develop and progress.  Django started out as a beaten up, timid slave and slowly progresses into a powerful, sarcastic killing machine.  Christoph Waltz is just as good, if not better, than Jamie Foxx as the smooth talking bounty hunter.  The chemistry between Waltz and Foxx is remarkable.  Tarantino even managed to bring Don Johnson back from the grave putting him in a small but hilarious part.  Perhaps the most interesting performances though were played by Leonardo DiCaprio (The Departed) and Samuel L. Jackson(The Avengers).  It was nice to see DiCaprio step out of his comfort zone and play the malicious slave owner, Calvin Candie.  Samuel L. Jackson’s character, Stephen, was just as much a villain as DiCaprio.  His character was someone you loved to hate and hate to love.

Tarantino has built a legacy around himself where he is allowed to do ridiculous things in his movies.  Normally it would be dumb to have a pistol shot make a person fly back through a wall or it would be out of place to play Tupac in a western but for some reason, it works in Django Unchained.  That’s just because of the Tarantino charm.  You watch the insane amounts of violence and you listen to the creative song installments and you just say to yourself, “It’s a Tarantino movie.  He has to do that.”  I’m glad Tarantino is bold enough to take these risks.  It allows his films to have a tremendous payoff.

Many are complaining that Django Unchained is too long and it would be a perfect film if it were shorter.  I disagree with this statement.  I couldn’t think of a single scene that could be cut in this film.  If you’re complaining about the length, then you probably just don’t enjoy long films.  However, Django is nonstop entertainment from start to finish.  The length would be a problem if the film was boring but since it isn’t, I was hungry for more.

Quentin Tarantino doesn’t make movies too often.  When one does come out, it needs to be treated like a rare gift and should be cherished.  The man is probably one of the most original and entertaining artist in the film industry today.  We should enjoy his films while we still can.  Django Unchained delivers the goods on all fronts.  If you are someone who normally doesn’t like Quentin Tarantino, you probably won’t understand what’s so special about Django Unchained.  But for the rest of us, we can all finally have the great time at the movies that we deserve.  A+

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