Django All the Way - A review of Django Unchained
Summary: If you go to a Quentin Tarantino movie you get what you pay for. This one is unrelenting, unapologetic and totally unforgiving. It’s just what we needed to spice up a lackluster Christmas Day.
Make no mistake. Jamie Foxx may play the title character, but this is Christoph Waltz’s movie.
Waltz plays King Scultz, a dentist turned bounty-hunter who seeks out the aid of Django who he knows can identify three felons in pre-civil war deep south.
Along the way, he raises the ire and the wrath of a number of questionable individuals on all levels of the social scale. Partnering with Django allows the hero to bring many of these culprits to justice. I actually enjoyed the carefully negotiated dialogue written for his character. He’s like the smarmy lawyer you love to hate, but his ethics put him entirely on the right side of both the legal system and humanity.
In typical Tarantino fashion, not all of the good guys get away undamaged, though, either. Django himself is searching for his wife (Kerry Washington) who’s a slave at another plantation. It’s wonderful to watch the lengths he and Schultz will go to when affecting her rescue.
This movie isn’t for the squeamish, though. Blood and guts soar through the air like visual trapeze artists in this circus of murder and mayhem. And the body count by the end is higher than virtually any season of the show 24.
It’s even fun to see actors you wouldn’t ordinarily associate with Tarantino appearing in the movie. Among the talent that was recruited are Don Johnson, Jonah Hill, Tom Wopat, Bruce Dern and Franco Nero. Even Tarantino himself has a cameo.
But kudos should go to Tarantino regular Samuel L. Jackson who plays a nearly unrecognizable and made up house man named Stephen who loyally serves Leonardo DiCaprio’s Calvin Candie who currently owns Django’s wife.
Stephen has a keen eye for deception who, despite his age and evident handicap, still turns out to be quite treacherous and a fine associate for his master.
What never ceases to amaze me though is the utter brutality and carnage enacted for our enjoyment in Tarantino productions. This is certainly not his most violent picture, but it ranks up there with his bloodiest. This really reminds me of a modernized updating of grindhouse blaxploitation resurrected, complete with the typical explosive denouement.
The timing couldn’t have been more coincidental. Released on Christmas Day, a day of forgiveness and repentance, this film is a hard 180 degrees from that. Perhaps we should be thankful that we didn’t live in that same time with Django. I give the film 4 out of 5 stars.