Django Unchained – Movie Review
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Writers: Quentin Tarantino
Stars: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson
Quentin Tarantino puts his stamp solidly on spaghetti westerns with the hyper-violent, darkly comedic Django Unchained.
At its heart, this movie is about the unlikely partnership of Django (Jamie Foxx), a slave who has earned his freedom, and Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz), a German dentist-turned-bounty hunter. Set just prior to the Civil War, when it was very odd indeed to see a black man and a white man working as partners, the situations in which they find themselves are always tense and likely to be trouble-filled.
The relationship between Django and Schultz is really interesting to watch as you learn more about each man. They have different motivations, but each is basically a “good” man and their mutual respect increases as they spend time together. Schultz seems to enjoy his role as a mentor and teacher, even showing Django how to role-play to get what he wants. This is the focus of the first part of the movie and it’s simple fun.
The second part is less fun. The major conflict here is between the heroes and Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), owner of a huge plantation (Candyland). Candie is rich, arrogant, and slimy–a man used to getting everything he wants, when he wants it. He is a bad man. He is the epitome of the worst slave owners: he treats slaves as property to live and die at his whim.
There are things I really liked about this film–there are some really fun touches thrown in that were fun to watch, like target shooting at a snowman. The camaraderie between Django and Schultz. The interesting costume choices and what they said about the various characters.
On the other side, a lot of the movie just included too much “splatter” in the violence–I admit it, I can be a bit squeamish. Like many of Tarantino’s films, it was over the top. Some of the scenes seemed stretched out with too much conversation, and no action. The message the movie seemed to be trying to deliver was heavy-handed and overdone. And the climactic battle doesn’t seem necessary, since it’s started out of stupidity.
Top notch performances all-around make this movie very watchable–Tarantino gets the best out of his actors. Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz are fantastic together. Samuel L. Jackson is amazing as Stephen, and Leonardo DiCaprio is just one step behind, but still stellar.
A must-see for Tarantino fans, interesting entertainment for those who don’t mind explicit violence.
Reviewed by Elektra Hammond