Django Unchained is about revenge. Be it blacks getting revenge for slavery, Django killing people who wronged him, or whites getting back at blacks for what they feel are owed to them. Someone is getting revenge on someone. It’s simple, but very effective. It doesn’t leave you thinking about some deeper meaning, just enjoying the scene that you are watching. The movie’s plot moves along at a nice pace compared to recent Tarantino movies. The ending didn’t work for me though. A natural ending comes up, but Tarantino keeps going. While what comes next is great to watch, it doesn’t flow well. Time jumps need to be handled carefully in movies, as they can break the flow of the movie easily. But it works well here, using a Star Wars like crawl to explain the time flow.
As with any Tarantino movie, there is plenty of talking, giving the audience a peak into who the characters are. Everyone is a witty bastard, and can go on and on for any topic. It’s incredibly entertaining to watch, as Tarantino gives every character a big monologue to steal the scene. While the audience understands and sympathizes with Django, he doesn’t get the big character moments that every other character receive. Well, he does at the end, but it’s a little to late at that point.
Tarantino punctuates quite a few dramatic scenes with a witty comedic line. It works nine out of ten times, as the comedy shouldn’t be put in every single scene. The shootout at the end is the worst victim of this. We get it, a guy getting accidentally shot and not dying is funny the first time. Not as much the second. And it’s beating an almost dead horse the third time around. But then there are tense scenes where the comedy comes out of nowhere and cuts right through the tension.
The simplistic use of music was great choice. During the big shootout at the end, a rap song is blasted. While it sounds like it wouldn’t work, considering this is a spaghetti western, it surprisingly does. Seeing Foxx run around in slo-mo with blood bursting everywhere makes it impossible to look anywhere but the screen.
The camera work is a little loser this time around. Unlike Inglorious Basterds, we have big camera movements, and quick zoom in and outs. It helps make Django feel like a classic western film. It also help sell the comedic punches at the end of scenes.
The acting is top notch, as always with Quentin Tarantino movies. Jamie Foxx makes Django a likable, and interesting character, even with the lack of depth. At the beginning of the movie, Django has a hard time reading a simple wanted poster, sounding out the words in a comical fashion. Foxx does it in a way that feels real, without making it feel over the top. Christoph Waltz is great the Dr. Schultz. Waltz seems to excel with a Tarantino script. He receives the majority of comedic lines, and says them in a such a tone that gives any audience member a huge grin.
The real star of the show is Leonardo DiCaprio. He’s clearly having a blast as Calvin Candie, the plantation owner. He quickly snaps from dramatic, to comedic, to lovable slave own without missing a beat. He’s a vile human being, but you can’t help wanting to see more of him. I would have paid for a two hour movie about Calvin Candie going about his normal life, just to see DiCaprio having so much fun. If Django Unchained and Inglorious Basterds has shown anything, it’s that Tarantino can write an amazing villain. I’d love to see him write a movie where the villain is the main character.
Django Unchained isn’t the best Quentin Tarantino movie, but it’s still a great film. Expect it to be on many top 10 lists.
Django Unchained gets 4/5.