Sunday, 26 May 2013

Django Unchained Review

"D J A N G O - The D is silent"

Ah, Quentin Tarantino. Love him or hate him, you have to admire and respect his film making capabilities. His latest, Django Unchained, sees him tackle the Western genre - with devastating effect.

Django Unchained tells the story of Django who is freed by bounty hunter Dr. King Shultz (Christoph Waltz) in order to help him with a bounty. Quite quickly, Shultz takes Django under his wing and trains him as his partner. But he made him a promise: that he would rescue his wife from a plantation owned by the ruthless Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio). And rescuing her is not going to be all that easy.

What has to be said first is that this film is in no way racist. It's simply just stating facts about the time period it's set in. Yes, the word n****r is used fairly frequently but that's just because it stays true to the time and the setting. What was Tarantino supposed to do? If anything it's the opposite. It's showing us how wrong this was and is making the white guys out to be morons (one scene in particular). 

Apart from that, I can't see how anyone could dislike this film. The acting is superb. Christoph Waltz puts in the performance of his life. Every scene he's in he steals and that's fairly impressive around a cast of Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx and Samuel L Jackson. These three too put in fantastic performances, DiCaprio in particular. His villainous Calvin Candie is one of the most vile and unhinged characters I've ever seen on screen. This is further reinforced by one scene in which DiCaprio slams down on a table and accidentally cuts his hand which draws blood, but he doesn't stop. Instead he stays in character and improvises licking the blood off his hand and smearing it over a young woman's face.

The soundtrack too is absolutely marvelous. It's titular theme 'Django' opens the film and it instantly engrosses you into the film. It also helps make the opening title sequence one of the best I've ever seen, although my top three opening title sequences probably have Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction in them too, so I shouldn't be surprised. Django's has such an enthralling opening title sequence that you're instantly hooked into the film until the credits roll. Which is a big achievement considering the film is pushing three hours, but I was never bored or I never felt like it was dragging. 

The hybrids of genre are awesome too. It combines Western with a period drama, while all the same being a terrific action film with some hilarious moments. The shootouts in this film are crazy. I would go as far as saying that it's the goriest film Tarantino has made. Nut shots, brain explodes, blood spatters and branding irons. This film has it all and it's incredibly uncomfortable to watch at times - which once again just rings home how bad the times were. 

Dialogue is once again used as a hook for the audience. The way Tarantino uses dialogue in Django just encapsulates his entire career. It's simply baffling how a man can have such vision and imagination to write the speech that he does and to then pull it off afterwards is quite spectacular. It's quotable, it's heartbreaking and most importantly, it makes every character seem that much more important which is one of the key reasons this film (and Tarantino's other films) is successful.  

And need it be said how wonderful the cinematography in this film is. Tarantino continues to amaze me with what he can do with a camera. He delivers shots that I've never even seen before, it's unique and exciting to watch. 

This is certainly one of Tarantino's best. Better than Reservoir Dogs and probably on par with Pulp Fiction. Immense film making.