Django Unchained,2012, USA
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Stars: Jamie Fox, Christoph Waltz & Leonardo DiCaprio
It is my belief that every cinema lover is bound to go through a stage of Tarantino fandom. Personally, I have been through mine, I remember watching 'Pulp Fiction' five times a week and going through the entire screenplay of 'Reservoir Dogs' in my head on a daily basis, I remember being unfathomably excited for 'Inglorious Basterds' and being absolutely thrilled when it lived up to all my wildest expectations. My admiration for Tarantino has honestly perished a little bit, maybe its because of the mainstream attention, the fact that he never seems to evolve as a filmmaker and audiences pleasuring themselves to his 'originality'. Don't get me wrong, I think Tarantino is a very good director and an even better screenwriter, but he's constant allusions to other artists just make me admire them more instead of him. At the height of my fandom, I remember rumors of Tarantino's long awaited western had fallen through and it was on its way to our screen. While I was excited for the film, my excitement was nowhere near the level of when 'Inglorious Basterds' was hitting cinemas. I live in Australia, and its a fine country but we usually get the short end of the stick when it comes to film releases, case in point being this film, which isn't in theaters until January 24th almost a full month after the states, but through the magic of awards season,DVD screeners and Piratebay I was able to see the film before most of my country people, and what I discovered was that 'Django Unchained' is one of the biggest and most triumphant cinematic experiences of 2012.
A German bounty hunter named Dr Schulz acquires the services of a slaved named Django (the D is silent), the two form a bounty hunting duo as Schulz attempts to help Django rescue his wife from the sadistic plantation owner, Calvin Candie.
For around about 10 years now, all of Tarantino's film have revolved around revenge and different areas at that, weather it be from a personal standpoint ('Kill Bill') a Gender based standpoint ('Death Proof') or a historical one ('Inglorious Basterds'), 'Django Unchained' continues this trend and follows the path of 'Basterds' as it explores a historical, this time being slavery in the 19th century. I have heard the film being criticized as being ''racist'', I can not agree with these statements. There may be many racist characters on screen but the film as a whole does not feel like it is endorsing these horrible acts at all. If anything it seems like Tarantino is mocking the absurdness of racism and slavery, and portraying those white folk who were slave leaders, as basically neglectful morons. There is some rough content aimed towards African American characters, but what would you expect out of a film centered around slavery ? and its not like Tarantino has created these events, this is a part of human history, and a terrible one at that, How can we get past it if were not willing to confront it.
The film has Tarantino's trademarks all over it, intelligent script,hilarity,intense violence, entertaining characters, incredibly brilliant villain and bucket loads of blood. Tarantino fans should all be thoroughly satisfied with what they are getting here. Tarantino has presented yet another memorable screenplay with all his usual quirks involved. There are plenty of his usual allusions to other filmmakers and with this film being a Western (or a Southern) he references some of the greatest filmmakers from the genre such as Sergio Leone and John Ford. Like myself, One of Tarantino's favorite films is Leone's 'The Good, The Bad and The Ugly' and its inspiration is felt here, and I loved it! the humor in this film is exceptional, especially a scene featuring the incompetent KKK (With an appearance by Jonah Hill) Hilarious stuff!
'Django Unchained' features a brilliant cast and as per usual, Tarantino is able to get the best out of them. I remember the day Jamie Fox was announced as the lead for this film, I was bitterly disappointed as I really have not enjoyed Fox in many films, but I can gladly say that he was great in the title role, a thoroughly intense and passionate performance that redeems him in my eyes. Without a shadow of a doubt, Mr Christoph Waltz stole the show in 'Inglorious Basterds' playing the brilliantly villainous character of Col. Hans Landa, so I was thrilled to know that he was re teaming with Tarantino here, and what can I say about the guy that hasn't already been said, He's Fucking brilliant! Waltz's performance here is on par with his work in 'Basterds' which is saying a Hell of a lot! another truly brilliant and Oscar worthy showing, speaking of which brings me to Leonardo DiCaprio, the days of criticizing Leo as being the Hollywood pretty boy are long gone, and if you needed any more conformation watch his performance as Calvin Candie in this film. Unbelievable! DiCaprio makes an amazing and frightening villain, I would say that he should play more villains but its going to be hard to top Candie, a fantastic performance and like Waltz, DiCaprio also deserves an Oscar for this. The rest of the cast is good as it co stars Samuel L. Jackson, in his best role in years, Kerry Washington and even QT himself. An in Tarantino tradition he gives roles to some great, forgotten actors i.e Franco Nero, John Jarratt as well as Michael Parks.
I may not be the Tarantino fan that I used to be, but I can still appreciate a great film, and 'Django Unchained' is a great film! The film is beautifully executed by Tarantino and features an array of brilliant performances. Although I do think Tarantino needs to change it up now, hopefully he puts his own spin on a adaptation or something along the lines, enough revenge for now. But this is certainly one of the best films of 2012, and I can't wait to revisit it in a cinematic venue.