By now, audiences know what to expect from a Quentin Tarantino film: good story, developed characters, and over-the-top violence. All his films meet those three elements so when you ask anyone what their favorite film Tarantino wrote/directed it is near impossible to guess what they will say since each film seems to have its own fan base. Django Unchained is no exception. I have heard die hard Tarantino fans say it his best along with some who do not peg themselves as Tarantino fans love it. Then you got a portion of the audience at the other end of the spectrum that was utterly disgusted with it. Oh yeah, Django Unchained is definitely a Quentin Tarantino movie when it can do that.
A brief introduction to plot of Django Unchained is as follows: Bounty hunter, Dr. King Shultz (Christoph Waltz), buys the freedom of slave Django (Jamie Foxx) because Django is the only person who would be able to identify three brothers that have a bounty on them. With his freedom Django tells Shultz his plan to find his wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington). Shultz agrees to help if Django becomes his partner in bounty hunting over the winter before they seek to rescue Broomhilda from the plantation called Candyland owned by Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) who makes his money from staging slave fights. Click here for the trailer.
There is no doubt that Django Unchained feels like a Tarantino movie. The best characteristic of any Tarantino movie (in my opinion anyway) is the dialogue and the exaggerated violence. Not only does it develop the characters better than any of their actions but in Tarantino’s case it just builds up the suspense without music! Most other films escalate music during dialogue when a major point is reached in the conversation but simply the voices and silence does more than music ever could. While on topic of music the soundtrack this movie is corny, funny, and just spot on for what Tarantino was going for.
Before Tarantino ultimately chooses an actor for a specific role he like to spend a lot of time with them going over the character and what the actor will bring to the role. Boy does it show and pay off. There is not a single poor performance in this movie. Jaime Foxx does a great job of showing this evolving character that is near defeat but rises to be the badass he was born to be. Plus his chemistry with Waltz on screen was magic, the two played off each other very well and seemed natural. Here Waltz plays Shultz much like he played Colonel Landa in Inglourious Basterds, a man whose every action and word spoken is calculated to get the response he desires out of others. I was a little underwhelmed by DiCaprio and Jackson’s performance. For being villains in a Tarantino they never felt menacing or intimidating… or really smart. Candie seemed completely feeble minded since he did not like people speaking French around him, a poor vocabulary, and had his right-hand slave played by Jackson point out obvious things to him.
Now to address any controversy regarding the subject matter of this movie, I think was blown out of proportion. Yes, the n-word was used superfluously but it does not seem out of place for the setting of the movie. I do not know if there is proof saying it was used that much back then or if it was not. Although after three hours of it, I hope to not hear that word for a long, long time. From discussions with friends we thought more people would refrained from saying it as much after seeing how it was used in those times (again not sure of the accuracies but many will assume it is close).
Overall, I do recommend Django Unchained. It features great performances from Foxx and Waltz that aid a good story. This movie is no more violent that past Tarantino movies and certainly has the harsh language. I enjoyed it but it was not my favorite of his. I’d put it at middle of the pack because I felt it was too long and the villains were underwhelming. I give Django Unchained a 7/10.