Django Unchained centers itself around its main character, Django, played by Jamie Foxx. Django is a recently sold slave when bounty hunter Dr. Schultz, played by the Academy Award-winning Christoph Waltz, finds him. Schultz seeks out Django to gain knowledge about a group of men that Schultz is to kill for bounty. When the doctor acquires Django, he finds out that Django has a wife and he was sold separately away from her for punishment. Dr. Schultz gives Django his freedom and, in exchange, wants help identifying his next bounty and ultimately ends up helping Django to find his wife’s whereabouts.
The film is written and directed by the great Tarantino who also directed films such as Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, and, more recently, Inglorious Bastards. He really is a director unlike any other who likes to take genres, mix them together, and then turn them on their heads. In Django Unchained, the viewer receives a film in the era of slavery that is a very brutal western. It’s action-packed, and it still somehow gets you to crack a smile and possibly even have a chuckle or two. I constantly found myself asking, “Should I be laughing at this?” and consistently cross-referencing the comedic elements with my own moral compass. Nevertheless, the film achieves the ability to focus on horrific, dramatic moments but then cleanses the viewer’s pallet with a great comedy bit.
Tarantino also has a writing style that is very unique. He builds tension with conversation, long conversation. A perfect example was Inglorious Bastards. There were multiple scenes in that particular film that drag on for close to twenty minutes, that yes, successfully build tension, but ultimately end in a thirty second gun fight where everyone dies. It’s a style that your either going to love or hate. Django Unchained has much less drawn out conversation and more in the action department. The action is visceral and the amount of blood is a bit over the top, like most other Tarantino movies. Although bloody, the film has some amazing shootouts in which Django thrives as a character with witty one-liners and some fast and fancy gunplay. The film is also not as compartmentalized as some of Tarantino’s other films. The director is focused on Django and Dr. Schultz the entire film, instead of leaving to focus on other characters and returning to the main plot, and that is what makes the film thrive.
Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz have great chemistry together. Almost all of the actors in the film deliver Oscar worthy performances. Jamie Foxx’s characterization of Django really transforms the character from a scared slave to a blood thirsty mercenary out for revenge. Christoph Waltz is possibly the best supporting actor working in the business right now and will probably win another Oscar for his German accented doctor bounty hunter. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Monsieur Candy, the owner of Django’s wife. He is severely overshadowed by Christoph Waltz, but gives arguably one of the best performances of his career. One of the best parts of the film is the cameos that lend to the comedic relief. People like Don Johnson and Jonah Hill are in the funniest scene of the film where the Ku Klux Klan are trying to perform a raid on Django and the doctor but no one can see because none of the holes in their hoods are aligned with their eyes. The worst acting in the film comes from the director himself, Quentin Tarantino, who performs possibly the worst Australian accent I have ever heard.
Overall, the film is filled with intense action and entertaining adventure that is never spoiled by bad acting or other poor performances. Tarantino is one of those directors that you expect to see something great from. In my opinion, he dropped the ball with Inglorious Bastards, but picked it right back up with Django Unchained. Besides the iffy acting here and there and some of the questionable humor choices, the film is fantastic and Tarantino lovers out there, like myself, are going to love it. Plan to here a lot more about this movie as Oscar season approaches.
Article by Ty Comstock