BY Briggs Watkins
Tarantino breathes life into the well-worn Spaghetti Western genre and ends up revitalizing it.
The story follows Dr. Schultz, a bounty hunter disguised as a traveling dentist, who buys the freedom of a slave, Django. Dr. Schultz trains Django with the intent to make him his deputy bounty hunter.
However, he is led to the site of Django’s wife who is enslaved as a servant to the ruthless plantation owner, Calvin Candie.
The film succeeds mainly in what makes Tarantino’s work classic: the writing. Each character’s dialogue blends so well with the world they inhabit as well as the characters in them.
Audiences won’t get enough of the witty humor shared effortlessly by its main leads. Tarantino’s master craftsmanship with filmmaking comes in full play, as viewers will see his strong style with the way he uses camera movements to help make the story more engaging and enjoyable.
The performances of “Django Unchained” are supurb; noticeably from the scene stealing Christoph Waltz with his unrelenting quips and Leonardo DiCaprio’s vile Calvin Candie.
Although it was wildly entertaining to see Leo play a Tarantino villain, he was more acknowledgeable as a “villain in a Tarantino movie” instead of a complete embodiment of a character.
The revenge tale often forces the story of a film to endure one dimensional characters with one dimensional motivations, but “Django Unchained” flips the script by making every character fully-fleshed out which prevents them from becoming uninteresting and boring.
There has been controversy concerning the portrayal of racism, but in the film it’s viewed more as lunacy than a major social criticism. Tarantino also balances brutal violence and cathartic violence expertly, giving the audience shock value and also guilty fun.
When watching the movie, it felt sometimes like “Inglorious Basterds,” Tarantino’s previous film before “Django,” because of the similar plot beats of an oppressive ethnicity that receives the chance to extract their revenge on their oppressors.
It would’ve been nice to see Tarantino hold off on the explosive cathartic violence in exchange for more profound action, but as evident in the ending, that’s the last thing he had in mind.
Viewers will also feel the wear and tear of “Django’s” unavoidable 165-minute running time.
An odd thing that Tarantino chose to do was act in the movie, which isn’t surprising since he’s acted in almost all his movies, but it will take some audience members out of the experience because of his horrible acting abilities as an Australian slave trader.
Despite “Django Unchained’s” long running time and of- putting performance from Tarantino, the film is a bold and bloody companion piece to the legendary director’s track record for making highly stylized and engrossing movies.
BY mathieu Morin
Overall, it was a very good movie, had a good story, with just the right amount of action to get me invested in the characters.
From a guy’s point of view, I liked the character development of how a guy with literally nothing, through circumstance and his own abilities, accomplished his goal.
I felt like the story was intriguing enough and the action was compelling enough that, although it had such a long run time, it kept getting more interesting throughout.
DiCaprio was great; there was real depth to his character. He did a good job of being a Southern plantation owner, but it was unique enough to keep from being a mundane character. Samuel L. Jackson played an amazing, dubious head of the slaves on the Candie plantation.
I liked the deceit he brought to the character, because the whole time he portrays this demented black guy, but then you find out he’s more than he seems…
It had that nitty-gritty feel of a Qunetin Tarantino movie, it didn’t hold anything back, especially in terms of the violence (but you need that level of violence to get a certain reaction from a modern audience.
We’re so saturated that we need that amount to find an action movie interesting). Quentin Tarantino’s directing style went well with the era in which the movie was set in.
It’s definitely a much more Southern Western movie than others that I’ve ever seen; but you still have the mystique of the gunslinger.
When people look at this film, they’ll see, yes, it’s a movie about slavery, but at the end of the day it’s still about guys on horses going after damsels in distress and shooting guns.
And… I’ve never heard the n-word said so many times during a movie.
BY Olga Slobodyanyuk
The movie has a 156-minute running time; it felt like half of that. This Western a la John Wayne is funny, surprising, satirical and, above all, bloody. So ladies who don’t like copious amounts of blood shooting from bodies, beware.
Jamie Foxx plays a slave named Django who is bought and freed by German dentist-turned-bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (hilarious Christoph Waltz) in order to help him find three brothers that Django is unfortunately very familiar with.
Drinking from the pool of revenge by killing the very people that punished and separated him and his wife, another slave named Broomhilda, Django becomes a natural at killing these awful men. The two track down Broomhilda at Candieland, owned by Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), and they set in motion an elaborate plan to set her free.
Quentin Tarantino is known for treating such dark subjects as Hitler’s reign (in “Inglorious Basterds”) and, in this movie, slavery, with a certain sense of humor, and the irony that he assigns “Django” is fresh and new, manifesting in how the characters play off of each other.
But, as a girl, what struck me most is the relationship between Django and the wife that he lost. It was amazing to me what kind of ordeals he went through to be with her again.
Samuel L. Jackson and Leonardo DiCaprio both played nightmarish antagonists in this movie. DiCaprio especially blew me away; he is both hilarious and frightening in his role of the Francophile slaver, under the guise of compassion one minute and letting his dogs rip up runaway slaves the next.
One of my favorite scenes in the movie was a portrayal of the struggle that the KKK went through to coordinate matching headwear.