IN THE DIRECTOR’S CHAIR WITH QUENTIN TARANTINO REVIEW: “Django Unchained” stars Jamie Foxx (Collateral, Ray), Christoph Waltz (Spectre, The Zero Theorem), Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant , The Great Gatsby ), Kerry Washington (Scandal [TV series], The Last King of Scotland), Samuel L. Jackson (Spider-Man: Far From Home, Glass), Walton Goggins (Predators, Ant-Man and the Wasp), Dennis Christopher (Breaking Away, Fade to Black), James Remar (Dexter [TV series], Pineapple Express), David Steen (The Corndog Man, Blues for Willadean), Dana Gourrier (Kidnap , Bullet to the Head), and Quentin Tarantino (Jackie Brown, Somebody to Love). It is written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. A newly freed slave named Django (Foxx) sets out to get back the woman he loves and punish the men who wronged him.
Ah, the spaghetti western. Boy have I missed this world so. And to be done by Mr. Tarantino at that. I gotta say, out of all the films this man has directed, “Django Unchained” had to be the most recommended (well, besides “Pulp Fiction”); and it’s for good reason. The movie is phenomenal on so many levels, from its cinematography that harkens to the old flicks to the unforgettable performances portrayed by Hollywood’s best. Man, “Django” has a lot to offer. Let’s dive into it, shall we? As you all know, I’m a fan of westerns. It was the superhero genre of old, where cowboys and Indians were the “it” factor and brought in audiences far and wide. I love the aesthetic, and Tarantino displays it in a way that only he knows best. Witty characters, dialogue like music, and nonsensical gore. Thankfully, the gore is toned down from some of his usual flicks; it’s more tasteful this time around, if you’d describe it like that. Really, the only consistent crazy aesthetic are the punch-ins. Boy, were there a lot of punch-ins with the camera, most of which made me laugh. Would I say it’s a bad thing? It’s jarring, yes, but I wouldn’t say it was a misstep. It’s what Tarantino wanted and it was mainly used for a comedic styling, which definitely gave way to a laugh. This isn’t your typical western, by any means. While it pays homage and has an old feel, it’s approach is completely fresh and bizarre. There’s chaotic action sequences that tiptoe the line of realism, scenes that exude Coen Brothers humor (the bedsheet-on-head raid was the best), and several uses of the “N” word that would not have been placed in westerns of old (at least not of this amount). If you don’t like the Tarantino style, you might not enjoy this, but I’d still say you should at least try it. The story, while paced in an odd way, is different; something that hasn’t really been seen in a western. The characters are diverse and well-written, with performances that make them unforgettable. Jamie Foxx was excellent, Christoph Waltz was simply amazing, and Leonardo DiCaprio… well, need I say anything? The man was terrific. Heck, everyone in this did a good job. Samuel L. Jackson was flat-out hilarious, and Kerry Washington played a great supporting role. Besides the cinematography, the actors are what won this thing, and you can’t deny that, Jack. Another great thing about this feature was it’s music. The song choice was awesome, with some good original music and classics to spice up the story (it was too good to hear Jim Croce’s “I Got A Name” play over a montage). “Django Unchained” possesses all you’d want in a western, and capitalizes on the aspects that made the genre so rich. I loved the atmosphere that was presented, with great costuming and production design to make it truly a spectacle to behold. There wasn’t too much of a problem with the movie in its technical sense, besides an odd choice of lighting in the opening scene (for me, when they were walking through the woods at night). Mainly, the issues reside in the story. Overall, it’s a great plot that doesn’t let up in entertainment. I was engaged throughout and couldn’t really predict what would happen next. However, the pacing itself tended to be all over the place. The conflict that’s presented at the beginning of the movie is resolved in the first act, leaving the rest of the film up in the air. Of course, there’s stuff to do and see, but how it’s all packaged seemed a bit off to me. I won’t go into spoilers for those who want to see it, but I’ll just say that there’s probably three climaxes in this film that make you wonder when the story is actually going to end. With that aside though, the movie is great. Clearly, it’s now one of my personal favorites of Tarantino’s, as he hits the western genre on the nose while giving his own spin to it. I enjoyed the experience and would strongly recommend it. FINAL SCORE: 95%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: