Django Unchained (2012)

“The D is silent.”

★★★★

Directed by: Quentin Tarantino
Written by: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz and Leonardo DiCaprio

It’s no surprise that Quentin Tarantino’s latest film, Django Unchained, is a Spaghetti Western homage, loosely drawn from Sergio Corbucci’s 1966 Django. There have always been elements of the Spaghetti Western littered across Tarantino’s past films, but now, Tarantino shows off his directorial style and genre expertise in a setting that feels like home – the Old West. Leading a troupe of fine actors through signature Tarantino trademarks, Django Unchained is undeniably,  quintessential Tarantino.

Set in 1858, just two years before the Civil War, a German bounty hunter, Dr. King Schultz (Waltz), partners up with a slave by the name of Django who can identify the infamous Brittle Brothers. As Django quickly learns the tricks of the trade and develops a close friendship with Schultz, he devises a plan to rescue his wife, Broomhilda (Washington), from the clutches of wealthy plantation owner, Calvin Candie (DiCaprio).

The anarchy of the West as Tarantino would have it is as blood-soaked and darkly hilarious as his previous revenge fantasies. Whether Tarantino is doing it intentionally or not, the director fearlessly takes issues of race and history into his stride, nonchalantly moving from comedy to seriousness with a soundtrack that cracks a contemporary whip. And here, he pulls it off splendidly. With a playfulness that balances human emotion with almost cartoonish violence, Django Unchained fulfills all the expectations you might have for Tarantino’s seventh feature. The film, however, runs a little too long. While Tarantino’s long scenes, dialogues, and monologues are some of the most pleasurable elements of his films, the pacing of the film could have been a lot snappier without losing steam or interest. And on a much lesser note, Jamie Foxx’s performance as the underdog Django doesn’t quite fill the boots of the character Tarantino has written or meet the standards of DiCaprio, Waltz, and Jackson. But of course, all of these minor details, are nothing for a Tarantino fan finally getting to see the master take on a genre of such mythic and epic proportions. For some of us, Tarantino can do no wrong.

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