The time has finally arrived and Quentin Tarantino has finally dropped his new movie, Django Unchained. Can his latest film hold the candle to his previous great films, or has his candle finally melted? Well, I can honestly say his candle is burning brighter than ever because Django Unchained is a masterpiece.
I’m gonna say this right away, I’m a huge fan of Quentin Tarantino’s work. I have been ever since I was a little kid and he’s always been a huge inspiration. That being said I’m not one of those blind fanboys who eats up everything they’re fed by their idols. If anything it makes me look at their work with a much more critical eye. Django Unchained has a few little flaws but it’s so negligible all of the good outshines what little bad there may be.
The film has a pretty straight forward plot. A bounty hunter named Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) frees Django (Jamie Foxx) from slavery so he can help him track down three criminal brothers, called the Brittle Brothers, for a huge bounty. If they can do that, then Django is a free man. After they complete their mission Schultz finds out that Django wants to find and free his wife Broomhilda Von Shaft (Kerry Washington). Schultz feeling responsible for Django takes him under his wing and decides to help him on his mission that leads them to the dastardly plantation owner in possession of Broomhilda, Calvin Candie (Leonardo Dicaprio).
There’s more to it that I refuse to give away if you haven’t seen it. The story takes a few different turns but it’s all so entertaining. At almost 3 hours I was completely entertained from beginning to end. This film has it all, memorable characters, great dialogue, bloody violence, some disturbing moments, romance, and a hell lot of humor. At the end of the day it’s a fun movie, which is weird considering the strong subject material. There is a lot of dark stuff here but they help soften it up with humor that make it a great ride. Without the humor the film would have been incredibly dark.
The film can be serious but it can also be campy. Tarantino manages to blend it just right so one doesn’t over power the other. There are some very strong moments that hit you right in the heart but seconds later something funny will happen and take you right out of feeling sad. It’s jarring because this film doesn’t seem as wanting to focus at the serious moments for too long. Partly I think it might have to do with the editing. It’s fine having a sad moment followed up with a funny/happy one but it just doesn’t give you an ample amount of time to feel either emotion at some moments. Some scenes feel like they’re cut a little too short. It shows that Taratino’s long time Editing partner Sally Menke is no more (RIP). That being said the new guy Fred Raskin does a good enough job.
The reason this movie shines so much to me is the lead cast. Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo Dicaprio, and Samuel L. Jackson all steal the show in some way. It’s like there all fighting for the spot light with just so much good material. I honestly cannot pick which character or performance I loved the most. They were all just so mind blowing good. Foxx slowly transformed into a stone cold bad ass and plays it off so good. Waltz plays the most likable and nicest guy in the film and you can’t help but smile at his performance and every line that comes out of his mouth. He is charismatic and a blast to watch.
Dicaprio comes bringing the thunder as well as Candie and seems to have fun playing the villain. Watching the film a second time I just realized how much he put into this character. He’s a pretentious jerk with an inflamed ego who seems to snap at the slightest annoyance. Dicaprio put out all the stops in this one with pulling off a believable accent and subtle body ticks. Last but not least is Samuel L. Jackson, who plays Candies head slave, Stephen. His role borderlines on self parody in a way but he has a lot of things that make the character his own and unique. He plays a bigger role then I had anticipated and comes out playing another great villain.
The film does an amazing job of creating a dynamic between these four characters. It’s Django vs Stephen, and Candie vs Schultz. It’s like the film is trying to tell you that the hero and villains in this film can be black or white. It doesn’t try to single out a single race and make them out to be bad guy or the good guy. It’s beautifully balanced. The supporting cast does a great job too. However there is a few small roles like a young slave girl that shows Django around a plantation and cameo from Quentin Tarantino himself that just don’t do very good at acting. It stands out with the great acting of every one else.
There are just so many words I can use to describe this film. The film has great soundtrack that mixes new with old. The music always matches with the action and gets you in the tone of the scene. The music in Quentin Tarantino films never fail to get me hyped. I love the scenes when he uses a score that sound like it’s straight out of an old classic film. It also has some sick camera work that shines in the action scenes. The quick cuts make the action feel exhilarating and there is a scene that puts slow motion to brilliant use. I also absolutely loved every time they did a quick zoom, it was hilarious and cool at the same time. The cinematography is an eye to behold as well. The colors really pop and the image is completely crisp and sharp. There are tons of bright color schemes and I’m glad being a western film it wasn’t all brown and drab.
Slavery also plays a big part of this movie though it isn’t the main focus. Some of the stuff here is ruthless but still doesn’t come to close to how terrible this time really was. Slavery was a disgusting time in american history and we must not forget it. Everything was done just right and though some will argue it was a bit overdone with violence or they used the N-word way too many times, this is how the times were. Tarantino likes to be accurate, he’s not doing this for fun and if it makes you uncomfortable all the more better. Black people and white people use the N-word in this movie and I feel like it manages to show the severity of the word as well as just how stupid the term is.
Django Unchained is hands down my favorite movie I’ve seen all year. It has it all but I won’t repeat myself. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I think most people will too. Tarantino still has it and I look forward to what he has planned next. It could be anything! Go see this movie. You won’t regret it.