I have never been a huge fan of Tarantino’s films. My favourite is True Romance but he didn’t direct it and for my shame I didn’t understand the final act of Inglorious Basterds until it was explained to me. Everyone has their favourites but Tarantino doesn't feature on my list.
There was no excitement for Django Unchained and expectations were low. If it wasn’t for the award nominations chances are I wouldn’t have bothered seeing it at all.
PLOT: After being bought from his current owners Django (Jamie Fox) helps Dr King Schultz (Christoph Waltz), a German bounty hunter, catch the Brittle Brothers in order to earn his freedom. Django and Schultz become partners but after learning that Django’s wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) has been sold to plantation owner Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) the two hatch a plan to buy her back. END PLOT
Django Unchained is a ridiculously long film but for the vast majority of the 2hour 45min (IMDB) running length I was completely engrossed. The only time my mind started to wander was during the obligatory Tarantino cameo – luckily it was a short one as if he remained on screen one second longer my opinion of Django Unchained would be more negative than it deserved to be.
Despite the themes of slavery and racism Django Unchained counteracts this with some wonderfully dark comedic moments. Django’s excitement of choosing his own outfit and the following reveal of said outfit probably got the biggest laugh but I loved the entire conversation with Big Daddy (Don Johnson) and Jonah Hill about the masks.
The pace is fairly slow and the final act grounds to a halt in order to build up the tension before the bloody shoot out that every single person in the audience was waiting for. The final scene is (thankfully) worth the wait.
There is plenty of stylish violence and lots of bloody deaths, some of which were played for genuine laughs, but as the action fell into over the top territory I can’t say I was shocked by it. The quieter moments of violence such as Broomhilda in the hot box and Billy Crash (the always enjoyable Walton Goggins) threatening to castrate Django were much more effective.
Jamie Fox is excellent as Django but when Christoph Waltz was on screen he stole the scene. Waltz is great fun and darts between sympathetic and psychotic without batting an eyelid.
Leonardo DiCaprio plays the villain and it makes for a very welcome change. DiCaprio is mesmerising as the ruthless Calvin Candie. The only complaint I have about his performance is that when he shouts in anger he becomes more petulant than menacing - every time he did it I immediately wanted to go home and watch The Man in the Iron Mask.
Samuel L Jackson is better than he has been for years and pretty much owns the phrase "mother fucker". Kerry Washington is fine but gets nothing to do.
Django Unchained is a typical Tarantino film. The style, the killer soundtrack, the violence, the cracking dialogue and the self-satisfying cameo are all present but this is the first time that I have walked away absolutely loving what I have just watched.
Aside from the length and the Tarantino cameo (are you sensing that I
didn’t like hated it yet?) there isn’t much about Django Unchained I
can complain about. It gets a 9/10.