After running a bulldozer through the historical facts of World War 2, Tarantino turns his attention to the slave trade of the Deep South.

Django Unchained

Django Unchained

Telling the story of slave turned bounty hunter, Django Unchained is possibly Tarantino’s most solid film since the days of Pulp Fiction.

With Jamie Foxx as his leading man and Christoph Waltz pretty much stealing the film from everyone he shares a scene with, Tarantino’s western is an enjoyable if overlong affair.

Tarantino has always had this uncanny ability to create likeable monsters, in fact I’d argue that his career has in fact thrived on it.

From Reservoir Dogs to Inglorious Basterds, his prominent protagonists have all been killers, robbers and borderline psychopaths. It’s some credit to his writing abilities that he is able to craft such complex individuals and still have the audience rooting for them.

With Django Unchained, he somewhat puts a spin on this pattern. While the you do still root for the main character, you do initially find yourself liking characters that ordinarily you’d completely despise.

This is never more evident than when Samuel L. Jackson’s Stephen is on screen, the loyal, cowardly and grumpy house servant that serves Leonardo DiCaprio’s Calvin J. Candie. In fact both performances are remarkably solid and amusing, that when they do carry out abhorrent acts it adds to the viewers disgust and plays in complete contrast to how the script initially warms you to these characters.

All the other Tarantino trademarks are there too. There’s the confident, witty and endlessly quotable dialogue. There’s the recycled soundtrack, with the obligatory tunes from the likes of Ennio Morricone. There’s actors that you haven’t seen on screen in an age on the big screen (Don Johnson of all people) and then there’s the regulars such as the aforementioned Samuel L. Jackson and Christoph Waltz (did I mention how good he is?)

Another thing to be commended is the effort that has gone into creating a realistic western. From DiCaprio’s manky looking teeth to the various piles of horse crap that the characters carelessly walk through, this is by no means a glamorous looking period drama.

If there is one criticism to be pointed at Django Unchained, it’s the length. Clocking in at 2 hours and 45 minutes, there is a lot of needless exposition going on here and with a bit of trimming, the pacing of the film could’ve been greatly improved.

Ultimately though, that’s a minor issue in the grand scheme of things. There’s a lot to enjoy and take from Django Unchained.

With solid performances and a razor sharp script, not to mention some of the finest action sequences directed by Tarantino since Kill Bill, it’s probably the most evocative film he has made.

About The Author

Colin lives in south west London. Looks like a hobbit and has been watching films ever since he saw Return of the Jedi at the age of 3. You can follow Colin on Twitter @obicolkenobi.

One Response

  1. Dan O'Neill

    Nice review. It’s daring, incredibly well acted, very well directed, and unexpected, making it one of the more memorable cinematic experiences of the year.