Quentin Tarantino is a fearless director who, rather than holding anything back, pushes ahead like a bomb with his mighty vision in mind. ‘Django Unchained’ is a leap for this type of exaggerated brilliance. It’s rough, edgy, unsympathetic, witty, and not shy with the violence. ‘Django’ is blood a plenty and may not be for the weak hearted, but for Tarantino fans, he is not disappointing.
Don’t expect to settle in for a tale about slavery. One could say that this film really isn’t about slavery at all, but it’s simply the context that brings the circumstances to boil to those epic moments that keep your eyes either glued to the screen or squinting in gory anticipation. These circumstances come to be when former slave Django, Jamie Foxx, joins forces with bounty hunter Dr. Schultz, played by the charismatic Christoph Waltz. Dr. Schultz gives Django his word in helping him find his wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), once the their winter bounty finishes. From there we meet plantation owner Calvin Candie, the great Leonardo DiCaprio, as the duo attempts to outsmart him in a plan to rescue Broomhilda from his plantation. Waltz is the triumphant actor, giving the film it’s best humor and smarts. While DiCaprio and Foxx deliver fine performances, Waltz is truly a standout.
Tarantino films are like gunpoint; there are those we root for and then there are their enemies. The clash between the two occurs once the anticipation has built and the stage has been set. The culmination of epic proportions in ‘Django’ amounts in bloody splendor giving us the closure we need and satisfying our eager minds. There is also a nice pace to the film reflective of the plot; it’s handled gently with some great scenes between Django and Dr. Schultz, possibly the better moments of the film, and then bouts of action that brings you from attentive to thoroughly entertained.
Perhaps some scenes are harder to grasp, Candie’s speech for instance to Django and Dr. Schultz after dinner where he uses the skull of a former family slave, all once he’s been brought up to speed about his visitors’ true intentions at his plantation. Ultimately it’s a tool of intimidation made to scare his guests, but it comes off as a sudden tangent that’s not simple to catch on to. And overall, Candie’s initial treatment of Django is kind, thinking he’s buttering Dr. Schultz and Django up to spend a large sum of money on a fighting slave, but too kind. Despite being a movie, it seems very unrealistic to have a plantation owner treating a black man almost similar to a white man, no matter the situation. Slavery here is treated less accurately than audiences might expect. There’s not very much of slave life that we even see. The historical content remains a small question.
‘Django Unchained’ offers up a compelling and wild adventure, although loosely historically bound, that is almost without a genre. It’s action and drama with comedy, but basically it is clear ‘Tarantino.’ Some moments could have been done without or at least better explained. Samuel L. Jackson’s strange character, Stephen, playing Candie’s faithful house slave who only serves purely as an instigator, is an awkward addition with his manner of speaking and sudden quirky interruptions. Still, however, this film is a contender. Doing very well in the box office, it’s not without valid reason. It is a consuming film where despite the gritty, it becomes an addiction where the almost-three-hour film doesn’t seem quite so long.