Say one thing for Quentin Tarantino, say he does revenge like no one else. Django Unchained is a masterpiece, a bloody epic Western unlike any other. Filled with wonderful characters, equally wonderful performances, and one of the bloodiest gun fights in cinema history. This is a film unlikely to disappoint.
Django (Jamie Fox) is a slave freed by Shultz (Christoph Waltz), a German bounty hunter who requires Django’s services to track down an outlaw group of brothers. On the journey Shultz learns of Django’s German speaking wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) who had been purchased by a ruthless Mississippi plantation owner, Calvin Candy (Leonardo DiCaprio). Shultz agrees to help Django free his wife.
There is nothing special in this story, and as usual in a Tarantino movie, it’s all in the telling. You’ll find drama, comedy, romance, and action wrapped up in the old school Western genre but still oozing a modern sense of “cool”. Watching Fox strut on horse back to an African-American Hip-Hop beat could just be one of the coolest moments in any film for a long time. Django Unchained does have wide appeal, but it’s definitively a movie buffs kind of movie.
This is Director Quentin Tarantino’s homage to the spaghetti western, complete with all the cheesy camera tricks and low quality musical recordings. It lacks some of the unconventional story-telling of his previous films, but it oozes his class and it continues his tradition of some of the best characters on-screen. This is a film where characters in extended conversations can be as engaging as the extraordinarily bloody gunfights. At a wopping 165 minutes, the film never once has you looking at your watch remaining riveting from start to finish.
Waltz, Fox, and DiCaprio are all at their best, and while Waltz is the one being recognised with awards I see no reason why the other two should not have been either. They all own their characters right down to their idiosyncrasies and character flaws. Tarantino certainly knows how to get the bets out of his cast, a talent I wish he could pass onto other Directors.
Django Unchained was officially a 2012 production despite its release in 2013, for that reason I’m naming it my film of 2012. My head might tell me that Oscar for Best Picture and Best Director will go somewhere else, but my heart hopes it comes to this movie.