IMDb.com User Rating: 8.7/10
RottenTomatoes.com: 88% positive
PBJ Rating: 9.5/10 ♥’s
Quentin Tarantino [known to some as simply ‘The Man’] delivers his latest bone-grinding action drama in Django Unchained. Having conquered gangster flicks [Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction], samurai chronicles [Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2], and the war epic [Inglourious Basterds], Tarantino was due for a western. And it is a masterpiece.
Oscar-winning powerhouses Christopher Waltz and Jamie Foxx play Dr. Schultz and Django, a head-hunting duo that follow a code all their own. Set two years before the Civil War, Django Unchained follows the devious dentist and his newly freed accomplice as they pave a lethal [but legal] path of destruction throughout the American South. Schultz is the white exception for his time, teaching Django the tricks of the trade and treating him like a real human being as the pair dispense an old form of justice on the dregs of “society”.
As usual Tarantino, our heroes spill blood every which way en route to Candie Land, where Django’s enslaved wife, Broomhilda, remains under the firm hand of one Calvin Candie. Candie [played beyond expectations by Leonardo DiCaprio] is a particular brand of southern cruelty, not just as a Mississippi plantation owner but also as a patron of Mandingo fighting. Flanked by his self-loathing houseboy Stephen [Samuel L. Jackson], Candie uncovers a scheme, set by Schultz and Django, to emancipate Broomhilda under the guise of usual business. Guns go a-blazin’ and a
lot shitload of people meet their maker at the hands of Django.
If you’ve seen any other works by QT then you’ll have a good idea of how this one goes. That certainly doesn’t make it any less magical an experience, mind you. No other film directors can build tension in quite the same fashion, and Tarantino does so with a sadistic yet tantalizing talent. And the hardcore Tarantino fans get what they want as Django Unchained is littered with tropes and stylistic bits that pervade the auteur’s collection of killer movies.
As always, QT slips in some socio-political jabber in the subtext, which actually made Django that much more poignant to follow. Already Tarantino’s greatest commercial success, Django Unchained has also scored well with critics and amassed 5 Oscar noms including Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay [which QT has won before], and Best Supporting Actor [for Waltz, who won for Basterds]. Sadly QT himself has missed out on the Director category, an award that is, in my opinion, long overdue. While I don’t feel Django will crack the Best Picture glass, he may be poised for another screenplay statuette fresh off his Golden Globe win. Either way, Django Unchained easily takes its rightful place among Quentin Tarantino’s twisted and terrific canon of stylish films.
Be sure to catch Django Unchained before it leaves NZ cinemas!