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“Django Unchained” – Review (POSITIVE)

December 25, 2012

Screen shot 2012-12-25 at 8.23.18 PMQuentin Tarantino is the FREAKIN’ MAN! There’s just no way around that, he is the MAN. I love all his movies, his best has always been pegged to be “Pulp Fiction”, and his recent bloody southern spaghetti western “Django Unchained” is without question THE FILM in his filmography that may go toe-to-toe with “Pulp Fiction”.

Set in 1858, two years before the Civil War, a young slave by the name of Django Freeman (Jamie Foxx) has become a ‘free-man’ thanks to the help of a witty German traveler, Dr. King Shultz (Christoph Waltz), D.D.S. & bounty hunter for the United States government. Shultz knows that Django is the one person who can identify the notorious Brittle brothers, a murderous gang that the state of Texas has put a bounty on. Django teams up with Shultz and soon enough picks up that talented trigger-happy mentality; killing white people just comes easy to Django. Shultz has agreed to help Django find his wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), who is being held at the plantation owned by Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), a place called Candie-Land.

Without any hesitation, this is by far Tarantino’s most entertaining, wild, and bloodiest movie to date. I cannot remember a movie he’s done where a man was torn to pieces by rabid dogs, can you? Yeah, it’s THAT kind of movie. The movie earns the help from monster make-up effects guru Greg Nicotero, a man best known for his recent work on AMC’s “The Walking Dead”, but of course Tarantino has crossed paths with him before, anyone remember “From Dusk till Dawn”? The blood splat in this movie is raised to maximum power, perhaps a bit cartoony, but for what the movie is evoking, the classic 60s/70s spaghetti westerns of Sergio Leone, Sergio Corbucci, and Alberto De Martino, it fits like a gun in a holster.

The two things Tarantino never lacks in his films are a fantastic cast of actors, and sweet dialogue to go with them. The one who seems to master the words of QT, still, are Christoph Waltz & Samuel L. Jackson. Waltz briskly & smoothly serenades the words of Tarantino without haste. Jackson is the master of uncontrollable levity. Jackson’s character is without question the most colorful and controversial character to date in Tarantino’s filmography. The movie has been spinning much controversy, it’s excessive amount of the n-word, the violent content involving slaves, and character description. It’s easy to debunk this, if you’re not up tight, you can see that QT is showing us a brutal, harsh part of history, and giving it his own unique twist.

I do not believe his intentions were to offend the African American community, if anything he’s trying to give them something to cheer for. No different from what Tarantino gave the Jewish community with “Inglourious Basterds”. As a fellow Jew, I cannot tell you how many times I get a kick out of witnessing angry Jewish soldiers blasting apart Hitler’s face into Nazi goo. I’m sure the African American demographic will have the same level emotions towards a liberated slave slaying white southerners.

Screen shot 2012-12-25 at 8.24.58 PMBut, I think the question everyone is asking, can DiCaprio play a villain well? HELL YES HE CAN! Holy crap, was he fuckin’ crazy in this movie. Calvin Candie, a charming Southerner, with a sadistic mentality about the world he lives in, and the slaves he’s known all his life. The scene with the skull may in fact be the most unnerving scene Quentin has written since the Ringo meets Jules in the diner scene from “Pulp Fiction”. He’s got this sadistic look in his eyes down verbatim, after seeing him in this movie, I urge the man to do more villain roles, he needs to make up for lost time.

If you’re a true western fan you’ll notice some pretty cool little tidbits; Franco Nero’s cameo, the man who was the original Django that the film is inspired by. Amber Tamblyn, who is the daughter of Russ Tamblyn the man who portrayed the title role of the “Son of a Gunfighter”, she’s billed as the Daughter of Son of a Gunfighter. The late German actor Klaus Kinski starred in a number of spaghetti Westerns, “The Great Silence” which makes the presence of a German bounty hunter played by Christoph Waltz in the Old West less random than it would otherwise seem. And lastly, I noticed that the costume Django dawns is hauntingly similar to the one Little Joe wore in the TV series “Bonanza”. You see? This is why QT is the best, he’s simply the greatest TV/Movie Geek alive.

GRADE: A

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 28, 2012 6:58 pm

    Solid review. A tad overlong, but still a really good flick. Thinking back on how DiCaprio was originally supposed Hans Landa, the skull scene in Django Unchained reminded me of Landa’s introduction in Inglorious Basterds.

    • December 29, 2012 7:37 pm

      That is probably one of the greatest villain monologue scenes in QT’s filmography. I had chills, I was disgusted, yet engaged every moment he was discussing the three dimples.

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