"Django Unchained," the new film by Quentin Tarantino, not only features an all-star cast, but also features a great soundtrack. Since this is a western, it wouldn't be complete without songs by Ennio Morricone, the great spaghetti western composer. In this sense, the film does not disappoint. Much like the cast, there is no real star which shines the brightest, they all work as a whole to invoke the spaghetti western atmosphere.
While certainly Morricone should know enough English by now to write a song in English, the film prominently features Italian lyrics. The song "Ancora Qui" was written specifically for the film by Morricone himself. Also, the soundtrack wouldn't be complete without the original "Django" theme written by spaghetti western composer and Oscar winner Luis Bacalov sung by Rocky Roberts.
Afficionados of spaghetti westerns already know that the musical style of the spaghetti western was a cross between Italian verismo opera and 1960s rock. Sweeping strings, winds, solo whistling, wordless female solos, and choirs were often paired with drum kits, whistling and electric guitar. "Django Unchained" renews the association with rap from Will Smith's turn in the absurdist Western comedy "Wild Wild West."
While the film possesses a high body count and often extremely brutal depiction of slavery which many people may find offensive, the film's redeeming qualities are the soundtrack, the great depth of talent in the cast, and the clever writing baked to perfection by Tarantino. Perhaps the most ironically funny scene was one in which Django gets a reading lesson using a wanted poster. But that is up against the birth of the KKK being presented as a bunch of whiny men who have numerous complaints before their ride against Django gets started.
Tarantino also weaves the German mythology of Wagner's operas painting Foxx as Seigfried, the hero who battles heroically to save his beloved Broomhilda (Yes, the misspelling is intentional) through German actor Christoph Waltz as Dr. King Schultz who becomes develops a partnership with Django and teaches him the ways of bounty hunters.
It often surprising who is in the film as there are so many stars of other westerns who lent their talents to the film. The cast are often so convincing in their parts that it is easy to forget who they are in real life and the other roles that made them famous-however this is part of the film's appeal for repeated viewings. The 1960s Django, Franco Nero, even makes a cameo appearance in a short scene.
Kerry Washington's role doesn't allow her the rapidfire dialogue she's becoming known for in her new series "Scandal," but she inhabits every scene believably and beautifully. Though she is damsel in distress here, Waltz's dialogue states that Seigfried saves Brunhilde "because she's worth it." Washington told the Los Angeles Times "I know it's not the most feminist idea to be a woman in a tower wanting to be rescued, but for a woman of color in this country, we've never been afforded that fairy tale because of how the black family was ripped apart [during slavery]. I really saw the value of having a story that empowers the African American man to do something chivalrous for the African American woman."
Jamie Foxx contributed lyrics and music production work to the soundtrack. Additionally, he rode his own horse, Cheetah, and performed many of his own stunts. In all, it's difficult to pick the best performance, best scene, or even a best song when the totality of the film is truly an ensemble work.
You can get a preview or review of the soundtrack by going to www.unchainedsoundtrack.com where you can also hear Quentin Tarantino introducing each song on the score in English and a little broken Italian.