"The name’s Django. It’s spelled D J A N G O. The D is silent." - Jamie Foxx
Over the years, I think we’ve all come to know Quentin Tarantino pretty well as a director and we know exactly what kind of filmmaker he is. From "Pulp Fiction" to "Inglourious Basterds", Tarantino does what he wants and since his first film "Reservoir Dogs"; he has only gotten better. It really has been a treat to watch Tarantino grow and perfect his craft over the years. A lot of his films are hit or miss with audiences due to their subject matter and violent content. This describes "Django Unchained" in spades. You’re either going to love it or not. It is very violent and graphic in its content and its portrayal of slavery prior to the American Civil War.
Set in the South, "Django Unchained" stars Jamie Foxx as Django. Once a slave whose brutal history with his former plantation owners has landed him in chains once again. At the start of our tale Django’s situation seems hopeless, that is until he comes face-to-face with German-born bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz played by Christoph Waltz. Schultz finds Django and liberates him from his chains. Dr. King is hot on the trail of the murderous Brittle brothers and as he explains, only Django can lead him to his bounty. Honing vital hunting skills that Dr. King teaches him, Django remains focused on one goal; the location and rescue of his wife Broomhilda. His wife was lost to him in a Mississippi slave trade long ago. Django and Schultz's search ultimately leads them to Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), the proprietor of "Candyland," a plantation infamous for its brutal handling of slaves. Django and Schultz create a ruse to misplace Candie’s suspicions and allow them to explore the compound under false pretenses. It isn’t long however until Django and Schultz arouse the suspicion of Candie's most trusted house slave, Stephen.
"Django Unchained" is nearly one of the best films of the year in my opinion and definitely Tarantino’s second best film to date. I still prefer "Basterds". "Django" is brutal, brilliant, dark, and hilarious. Even when the film is at its most cringe worthy depiction of slavery, you can find yourself laughing not even 1 minute afterwards. It’s a bizarre dichotomy, but it does work. This is the funniest film Tarantino has ever done, as well as the most serious. You can always trust Tarantino to produce great writing and scenarios for a film, but also to never shy away from any subject matter. At points in the film, there were audience members who had to turn their heads away from the screen due to the graphic nature of certain scenes. A man gets his eyes punctured into his skull, while another gets ripped apart by savage canines (not in the same scene).
All that being said, the film is never violent just to be violent; at least until the end. This is where the whole film fell apart in my opinion. I thought that "Django" was brilliant until basically the last 30 minutes. It just kept going when it should have ended. I wish I could be more specific as to the point in which the film fell apart, but to do so would reveal some slight spoilers. I’m pretty sure I gave away enough of the film’s plot already. I’m not trying to be overly critical of the film, because the rest of the movie was awesome; but this just felt over indulgent to me on Tarantino’s part.
I felt as though he made the film longer, just so he could have a cameo. Tarantino is best left behind the camera where he belongs. Anyways, I could rant all day about how much the last half hour of "Django" upset me; but I won’t because I’m sure a lot of other people loved the movie the whole way through. The last thing that upset me about the film and this may sound strange, but I did not like the way the blood appeared on screen. It looked clear and goopy. Anytime someone got shot, even with a Derringer, blood would just explode from their bodies and go everywhere, as if they were shot by a small cannon. It was ridiculous!
Alright, I said my piece. "Django Unchained" is a fine film for the most part. Tarantino is at the top of his game, again for the most part. "Django" probably won’t be getting as much Oscar buzz as "Inglourious Basterds" did, but if it does; it will be for many of the same reasons. Christoph Waltz gives another amazing performance, in my opinion he sells the whole movie. The writing here is superb and helps to create some great moments of suspense as well as periods of great humor. "Django" should be seen by everyone, but be warned. It is not a film for the weak of stomach.