If one thing is for certain, Quentin Tarantino has a taste for the theatrics. This last Christmas, he enticed us with his latest action film called "Django Unchained". If you have ever seen Tarantino's previous works, you may have a good idea of how he operates within his films. "Django Unchained" is the "Kill Bill" of westerns. You don't have to be a fan of westerns to like this flick, but you do have to appreciate Tarantino's art.
Jamie Foxx plays a slave named Django who is freed by a bounty hunter named Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz), a retired German dentist that currently makes his living tracking down and killing bad men with bounties over their head. He frees Django because he can identify the next group of thugs he is after. If this were any other film, the rest would have dealt with them tracking each and every single member of these thugs. Instead, they are dealt with rather early on in this flick before it moves onto its secondary, and more prominent storyline. The second part of the film dealt with a search and rescue mission, as Django and Dr. Schultz track down Django's long lost wife, enslaved by a ruthless man named Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio). Throughout the film we watch as countless lives are taken in the most extreme ways.
First of all, it should be pointed out that this film has nothing to do with the 1966 western film "Django", even though it may seem like it at first. IMDb states that the plot of the other film as "A coffin-dragging gunslinger enters a town caught between two feuding factions, the KKK and a gang of Mexican Bandits. That man is Django, and he is caught up in a struggle against both parties.". While Django is a gunslinger, and he does run into what appears to be the KKK, this film is an original work by Tarantino, though it is safe to assume he may have had some inspiration from "Django". That being said, what are some of the positives and negatives about the film.
First of all, the movie was written extremely well, as is anything Tarantino usually writes. It deals with extreme, over-the-top violence, as usual. Yes, the blood is bright red, and the guns are more powerful than in reality, but this film didn't need realism because it didn't go for realism. The film succeeded in what it went after, which is a bloody good time. There are also plenty of recognizable faces throughout including Samuel L. Jackson and surprisingly Jonah Hill. It's a guy's movie for sure, and the story is also pretty good, but there are some unavoidable mistakes.
As with any movie exceeding two hours, there may be some tapping feet watching the movie. It is long, two hours and forty-five minutes to be exact. Did it really need to be that long, probably not, because there is some useless banter thrown in here and there as a part of Tarantino's sense of humor demands it. It is funny, sure, but again...it is very long. Interestingly enough, viewers may find themselves engrossed by the movie wanting to know what happens next, as literally anything could happen. It was not predictable in the slightest. There is also no real villain to the story. There is a clear goal, though, it would have just been nice to see a main boss. That is something that "Kill Bill" had over the film. However, it is still a bloody fun movie.
One thing. Samuel L. Jackson's character, Stephen, looks and acts a little too much like Joe in any of Tyler Perry's "Madea" films. It does get a little eerie at how similar the two are...at least at first. If a viewer thinks about that, it is a distraction, and takes away from the film's overall goal. It isn't incredibly distracting, but it is a note to consider.
This has all the elements of a classic western as well as all of the elements of a classic Tarantino flick. If you are a fan of either, or more preferably both, you are going to love the movie. It is extremely entertaining and very well done. So far, Tarantino's craft hasn't dulled down, and it is clear that he has a ways to go before people will start sighing with each release. He is a creative mind, and is able to portray his ideas correctly when he directs his written works. He is a great storyteller, but if you have a weak stomach it is best to stay away from this film.
"Django Unchained" came to theaters on Dec. 25, and it is a must-see for sure. Check it out today!