“The D is silent!” a quote that made so many people laugh and applaud. It’s Robbie K again, this time reviewing Quentin Tarantino’s latest film Django Unchained. The plot for this film is about a slave named Django (Jamie Foxx) who is rescued by a German bounty hunter named Dr. Schultz (Christoph Waltz). Apparently Django is one of the few men in Texas who knows the identity of a band of outlaws named the Brittle brothers. As payment for helping him, Schultz promises to track down Django’s wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) who is currently owned by a chauvinistic plantation owner named Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio).
If you’ve seen Tarantino’s work, you know that the man is very extreme in his movies and makes no attempts to censor his work. Django Unchained follows the same path, which for some will be enjoyable for some and rather grotesque for other. From the very beginning, Django starts off with blood as gun shots paint a messy shower of red. Yet the madness has only begun, as Shultz takes Django under his wing and helps him develop the killers edge needed to be a bounty hunter. As Django evolves, so too do the kills as the dynamic duo updates not only their arsenal, but techniques as well. The end result of this training are numerous scenes of gun blazing goodness, usually resulting in some sweet kills and bloody bodies. Are you sickened by the description? If so, then skip this movie as the cinematography captures enough detail to make some stomachs turn. Head shots, knees exploding, and a shots in the neck are common scenes in this movie. Some of these kills are not quick though, and the poor victims who suffer usually have some ugly wounds associated with them, some of which involve a person being torn apart or tortured. For me extreme gore isn’t my cup of tea, as violence doesn’t always have to mean a river of blood to follow.
Despite the messiness though, Tarantino does still provide some other entertaining qualities that somewhat made up for the weaknesses. His choice of actors was well selected as both Foxx and Waltz work well together as the bounty hunter duo, each balancing out the other’s character weaknesses. Waltz in particular uses his charm to not only swoon the various extras, but also as a tool to make his lines even funnier as he adds a pompous atmosphere to the conversation. Foxx on the other hand sticks more to the rough necked outlaw motif, saying little to his victims before firing the shot, though the little he says is more than enough to get a few chuckles out of the cast. Washington is just as lovely as ever, but doesn’t get to do much other than scream and cry. While she can play a damsel in distress very well, this character was a little lacking compared to some of her other work. As for Jackson, his character is both fun and malicious. Jackson’s overacted rants and cascade of stereotypical insults were hilarious to me for the most part, yet his character too sometimes overstepped the appropriate boundaries. As for DiCaprio, well the man is still on top of his game. Stepping out of the somber detective role, Leo’s portrayal of the pompous plantation owner is incredibly captured in every detail from the rich debonair look to the heavy southern accent. The strongest aspect to his character is the viciousness he has to develop throughout the course of the movie, which starts with simple enjoyment at a blood sport, but turns into an anger that can’t be controlled.
Yet like many movies, Django does have its faults. For one thing the editing and filming require a little more polish to meet the qualities of his other films. Various settings don’t match up with the areas they are supposed to be in, for example a rocky outcropping in the state of Tennessee, or a dried up wasteland for Mississippi. The grainy nature of the film is also a little harder to enjoy, though it may have been used to help develop and depth to the Western world. Pushing past the editing, the time limit of the movie was a little hard to deal with at times. While the pace of the movie was rather quick for the most part, there were a few times where I felt the scenes were pointless or overdone. The end of the movie in particular could have been modified to deliver the same entertainment in a fraction of the time. What may have contributed to some of these “slower” parts was the episodic element this tale seemed to have. Instead of having a nice linear plot with twists and turns, Tarantino sort of divided the story into 3-4 tales some of which lasted for minutes before the plot was just dropped. Perhaps it was just a means for introducing more satire and laughs, or just another excuse to add more gore, but some of these short stories could have been replaced with something to make the story deeper. Yet my biggest weakness was the uber amount of crudeness, Tarantino put in this film. I know that he designs this movie without a care to criticism, but his rebellious nature was a little out of hand this time. In particular the bloody savageness and filthy language were excessively overused to the point where it was no longer enjoyable, but annoying, despite the cultural relevance to the time period being portrayed. How many times do you need to use the N word to get the point acorss?
Django was a fun movie to watch, but it still has some flaws that need to be tweaked. Perhaps when the movie comes out on DVD the editing can hammer some things out. While it is not his best work, it’s still enjoyable and will please any fan of his work. Just make sure to exercise caution when planning to take younger audience members to see it, as the crudeness factor has stepped up a bit. My scores for this movie are as followed:
Movie Overall: 7.0
Theater recommendation: Medium, probably better spent watching on Netflix.