Movie Review: DJANGO UNCHAINED (2012) – Western Gone Crazy
Quentin Tarantino is a Director whose work has become synonymous with the oddball and quirky. Sergeant of the strange and a flawless artist when it comes to deadly dialogue, Tarantino’s movies are awaited by both lovers and haters alike, and he always delivers. He comes through again with DJANGO UNCHAINED, yet another revenge flick peppered with repressed anxiety regarding a controversial topic.
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
DJANGO UNCHAINED is a period film about an African Slave who, through circumstances, earns his freedom and wants the same for his wife, whom he was separated from years ago. It’s another different take on the same revenge gimmick that Tarantino has exploited for most of his films.
However, DJANGO UNCHAINED works because of a variety of reasons. The gutsy action packed extravaganza that follows each tense scene is another typical style of direction honed by Tarantino. Excessive, jaw clenching dialogue that causes even the loosest of demeanors to tense up, followed by outrageous and explosive action sequences that match the caliber of the aforementioned dramatic dialogue brilliantly. It’s also a graphically beautiful gore fest underlining the badassery of a character whose people were subjugated for centuries. It may end up seeming like Tarantino’s other B-Movie styled novelty flicks, but there are underlying themes at work.it’s ‘the walk’… ohh yea.
Tarantino’s made a movie where a black guy shoots to crap his white enslavers, in a glorious blood splattered parade of bullets and balls. This is anything but Politically correct. We often hear about the tortures that African-Americans suffered during Slavery; horrible stories that make us shudder at the thought, some of which are on display in DJANGO… However, we have rarely heard of any of the Slaves ever actually pushing back during the hundreds of years of oppression. It may have happened, but you’d think that there’d be more of these types of stories in real life. Not that I can personally comment on the personal feelings of a collective group of people, however, I would think that DJANGO UNCHAINED may mirror a lot of the anger and frustration that may have been felt by many Slaves during that time, maybe even today. It’s a ‘what if’ story about one such Slave actually rising up and revolting against a particular Slave owner.
Jamie Foxx as the titular Django, plays a powder keg waiting to explode at every comment and remark aimed at him. A man’s whose freedom is constantly questioned, Foxx is remarkable as he oozes intensity in every scene, the best being the ones where he completely unleashes. Foxx’s Django is a relentless force of anguish and anger. And he does it amazingly.slave, cowboy, marlboro man…
Christopher Waltz is an absolute delight. Playing a German bounty hunter who frees and then takes Django as his partner, Waltz is able to right away paint himself as a protagonist, being the only white man in the movie who treats the Slaves equally and with trademark Waltz eloquence. Waltz’s rise to fame was in INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS where he played a cruel yet very well spoken “Jew Hunter”. In DJANGO UNCHAINED he regales us with his seemingly meek and weasel-like demeanor, while being a man to be reckoned with. Samuel L. Jackson plays an old slave so completely ingrained and grateful to his masters, that he is hilarious to watch. He provides much of the comic relief in the later half, swearin’ an’ cussin’ as he looks upon Django with hate and suspicion. It’s classic Jackson, spouting one liners and hurling insults at everyone left and right, all the while being loyal to Leonardo DiCaprio’s character.
Di Caprio is an acquired taste. Until a few years ago, I couldn’t look past his 12 year old boy face, however, he’s proven himself and his range in a variety of roles and was absolutely repulsive in DJANGO UNCHAINED. But in a good way. Playing a flamboyantly cool plantation owner with a hobby of wrestling slaves to the death, DiCaprio excels in his role of a cruel white man and therefore, the villain of the movie. DiCaprio is genius in this, as it’s it is so far removed from his usual roles that it’s intriguing to watch him as a cruel white supremacist, especially when he does it with such conviction.
One complaint that I would have with DJANGO UNCHAINED is the way the blood was depicted. This was one movie where Tarantino could’ve toned down the gore and it still would’ve been highly enjoyable. The gratuitous amounts of blood spilt is sometimes cringe worthy and feels out of place with the rest of the, somewhat, elegant and sophisticated film, given the subject matter.
Tarantino is very good at taking a typical revenge story and just blowing it outta proportion. It’s also very reminiscent of old school Spaghetti Westerns, especially with the climactic music, rapid zooms and pans, and should be watched with the appropriate amount of excited abandon that comes with such films.