*Very light spoilers (nothing large, just a few scenes discussed in depth)*
I’m going to say right away that this movie is FREAKING FANTASTIC!! Go see it while it’s still in theaters. I intend on watching it again in the theater and then again, as soon as it comes out on DVD.
Django Unchained is Quentin Tarantino’s newest film. It’s no secret that Tarantino is my favorite film maker of all time. This was definitely my most anticipated movie of the year. Actually I think it might be my most anticipated movie of all time. The first Tarantino movie to come out since I discovered how great he is. I did see Inglorious Basterds in the theater and that is an amazing movie, but I wasn’t as hyped going into it, because I hadn’t yet discovered who Tarantino really was. Now that I’ve seen all Tarantino movies multiple times and seen this new one I can say that Django Unchained is amazing just like all his other works. He has never made a bad movie. Grindhouse, which he made with fellow film maker Robert Rodriguez was not well received, but most people who did not like the movie, did not understand it. Grindhouse is my favorite movie, with all the other Tarantino movies right behind it.
Django Unchained is Tarantino’s tribute to the spaghetti western genre.
Tarantino can do any genre of film and make an amazing movie. He is a huge film fan himself and he has such a knowledge of all genres that he can tap into that wealth of knowledge and conquer them all. Tarantino’s filmography looks like he’s trying to make the best film in each genre. I would say he’s doing so quite successfully. All of his movies are a melting pot of different genres. They all share elements of comedy and other various genres, but each of his films seems to be based in a particular genre, then it reaches out to the other ones.
Reservoir Dogs is a heist film. One in which the actual heist is never seen. Pulp fiction is a crime gangster story. Death Proof is a horror film, Inglorious Basterds is a war film and Django Unchained is a western.
Let me start with the cast. The title character is played by Jamie Foxx who is an actor that I was not too familiar with. After seeing this I’m now interested to see his future works. This is one of those movies that can make me a fan of an actor. Falling Down made me a fan of Michael Douglas and Django Unchained made me a fan of Jamie Foxx. Many other actors were talked about for the role of Django, names like Will Smith were tossed around regarding the role, but I think they made the right decision. Jamie Foxx plays a great Django. His character has a very good progression, from the soft spoken and feeble slave, to the tough,
smooth talking, bad*ss he is by the end. Django is a name that has been used in many spaghetti westerns throughout the years. Christoph Waltz is from Austria and he says that when growing up “Django” was a synonym for “cool”. Tarantino is making a spaghetti western send off so it’s perfectly fitting that he uses an infamous name for the title character.
Christoph Waltz is such an amazing actor. At a point in this movie I forgot he was an actor. I’m not exaggerating, he’s really that good. I was aware that all the other characters were being played by actors, but Christoph Waltz is just so natural that it seems like his character is a real person among fictional characters. That’s not to say that the other actors are bad, quite the opposite, they are fantastic, but I think Christoph Waltz was the strongest of the strong. He deserves to win best actor.
After leaving Django Unchained I tried to think about his role in the previous Tarantino movie Inglorious Basterds. I honestly could not think of him as the same guy. It’s so hard to imagine that these two characters are played by the same person. That’s the mark of a truly great actor. If you can think about his characters as stand alone entities, then that speaks volumes about the actors portrayal of the characters. Also when I tried to think of the Jew hunter character, I realized how different Waltz looks in Django. In Django Unchained he has an awesome beard, and I had a hard time imagining him without it after seeing Django Unchained.
Leonardo DiCaprio plays Calvin Candie the antagonist plantation owner of Candie Land. This is the first time that Leonardo has played a hardcore villain. He does a great job. He has a couple of monologues that are just ridiculously good. When he starts talking about fernology you’re on the edge of your seat. He has a lot
of high energy yelling and commits a lot of devious actions.
There are a few verbal battles between DiCaprio and Waltz. These are some of the highest caliber conversations to ever be committed to film. You have amazing actors delivering Tarantino’s masterful dialogue. Quentin Tarantino has a real talent for bringing out the best performances from actors. Actors in his movies always seem to be having so much fun on screen, without detracting at all from the film, and in fact the exact opposite. The fun that is put into the performances makes the movie all the more enjoyable.
Samuel L. Jackson is in the film as he is most Tarantino movies. He wanted to play Django but was too old, so he plays the evil house slave that challenges DiCaprio for the title of big bad wolf of the film. His performance is great. He delivers Tarantino’s dialogue so well, and his character is such a bad person, but he is so damn funny. His mouth hangs open due to being absolutely flabbergasted, and his eyes are always watery and shiny for some reason. He’s so great. the cast is fantastic.
The main cast is great! There are many cameo roles from Tom Savini, to Zoe Bell, to Franko Nero (An actor who previously played Django) Even Quentin Tarantino himself has a cameo. He often cameo’s in his movies and it’s always great to see. When he first speaks it’s very off putting. He’s going for an Australian accent and doesn’t quite nail it, but it’s great nonetheless, and the payoff to his cameo makes this one of my favorite cameo’s to be in any movie.
James Remar who is currently best known as the father of Dexter has a large supporting role. 2 actually. Jonah Hill has a completely pointless role as Baghead #2. Let me rephrase that. The role wasn’t pointless, but having Jonah Hill play it was. He does an okay job, but really anybody could have played him. He is in one scene which is one of the funniest scenes I’ve seen in a long time. It involves a bunch of wannabe KKK members bitching about their faulty hoods. Tarantino’s clever writing makes this scene along with the entire movie funny. Tarantino mixes emotions really well. He can make you laugh then shock you and make you feel bad for laughing, then make you laugh again right after that.
In the trailer they show Waltz shoot those 2 guys when he’s freeing Django. What they don’t show in the trailer is the guy’s head exploding from the very first gun shot in the movie, followed by a horse almost being cut in half by a bullet. The movie is incredibly gory in the most enjoyable way possible.
There are buckets and buckets of blood being used and I love it. The effects are done practically, which means they weren’t done on a computer, which is always a plus for me. The violence in this movie is so brutal. It’s one of the goriest action movie of all time. It even surpasses most horror movies in terms of blood and gore. The only other action movies that I can think of that would be even slightly comparable would by the 4th Rambo movie, and Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror which was part of Grindhouse.
The action in this movie is superb. I’m talking real top shelf stuff. There is a big shootout towards the false end of the movie that is amazingly good. I honestly think it might be one of the greatest shootouts from any movie. I need to see it again to be certain, but what I am certain of is that is was incredible good. It’s done in the over the top stylized of John Woo movies like the Killer, which has been referenced countless times in Tarantino movies. There is action throughout the movie, but anyone who’s seen the movie will know what I’m talking about when I say the shootout. The definitive extended shootout. Tarantino has proven that he can do the action. He doesn’t do straight up action movies. He sometimes does action sequences but only if it is crucial to the plot. Tarantino’s had great action pieces, like the bar shootout in Inglorious Basterds and the street chase in Reservoir dogs, but I think he’s only done 3 real extended action sequences. 1 chase. 1 sword fight. 1 shootout. The car chase is from Death Proof which I say is the single greatest car chase of all time. Not one of the best. The best. The sword fight from Kill Bill vol. 1 which is one of the greatest sword fights, and now the shootout from Django Unchained which is one of the greatest shootouts of all time. Tarantino may not do action very often, but when he does it’s at the very top tier of it’s type.
The soundtrack is classic Tarantino. His films always have a great soundtrack. This one has some odd choices, like a rap song playing in the middle of the movie, but hey, it works.
There has been a lot of controversy around the use of the N word in Django Unchained. People can’t really get mad, because it’s just being historically accurate. Slavery is a topic that is constantly being avoided, including in cinema. Not many people would be willing to take on such a controversial topic, but Tarantino does it completely unabashedly and he doesn’t shy away from showing the real horrors of the time period. If it makes you uncomfortable, then it’s not a movie for you. You can go ahead and get uncomfortable, but you can’t justifiably get offended. Django may have the record for most N words in a movie, but there’s no way it’s said more in the movie than it was in the south during that time period.
Tarantino has many great references to old classics, as well as twists on old cliches. Tarantino takes the old cliche “Cool guys don’t look at explosions” and completely turns it around on itself. He has Django stare at a an explosion through sunglasses and makes it awesome. Turning a cliche around like that successfully is wonderful to see.
This is a fantastic movie. I can easily say it is my favorite western of all time. Out of the 4 that I’ve seen, and the 2 that I actually liked. But still a great accomplishment nonetheless. The western genre was one that I never had a great deal of interest towards, but after seeing Django, it makes me want to become a little more familiar with the genre.
Well here comes the end of the review. I know it was a long one, but I had a lot to say, and wanted to make sure I said it all. Hell I still probably didn’t say everything I could about this movie. I know I could say more, I could talk about it all day.
That’s why I haven’t reviewed other Tarantino movies. I’m worried I wouldn’t do them justice. I have so much to say and have a hard time getting all my love for his movies out in a coherent manner.
Django Unchained is a fantastic movie. Go watch it now!