Django Unchained

  • 2013-01-23
  • By Laurence Boyce

Director: Quentin Tarantino

Tarantino’s biggest box-office success in the U.S. to date has had its fair share of controversy and award nominations.  While his deliriously violent evocation of the Deep South of America in the 1800s will certainly not win any points for political correctness, “Django Unchained” is still a startling blend of strong performances, sharp script and visceral action.

German bounty hunter Dr. King Schulz (Christoph Waltz who, like in Inglorious Basterds, is one of the best things in the film) is after the heads of the notorious Brittle Brothers but, with no idea what they look like, he frees slave Django (Jamie Foxx) to help identify his quarry. He soon finds that Django has an aptitude for the bounty hunting business and asks him to become his partner for the winter. But a free black man in the American South causes its own problems and soon Django and Schulz are visiting the dangerous Candie (Leonardo Di Caprio) to find out the whereabouts of Django’s wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington). The bounty hunters soon find themselves on a road of death and blood vengeance.

This Western – inspired by the films of Sergo Leone and, unsurprisingly, Sergio Corbucci’s ‘Django’ series of films of the 60s, is a visual delight with its garish palette and unrelenting violence (which drifts between the entertainingly ridiculous and the uncomfortably real). It cements Tarantino’s flare as a filmmaker but also does allow him to indulge in some of his worst excesses. The pacing is somewhat disjointed (with its running time made longer by a flabby middle section that drags) and the film often begs for some judicious editing. But when it hits the mark (usually nastily with an explosion of blood), it’s superb from the performances to the choice of music for the soundtrack.

Some of the film’s detractors do have a point and some of the film’s politics cause some concern, and those who hate violence are warned to stay well away. Yet, flawed as it may be, this is still audacious and often enthralling filmmaking.


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