Saturday, 19 January 2013

'Django Unchained' Review

I may have been absent from Blogspot for quite a while now, but working, university and the festive period can add up to being pretty busy! I haven't gotten the chance to actually go to the cinema for months now until this week, and I thought that Quentin Tarantino's new 'Southern' Django Unchained was the perfect thing to start 2013 with.

Django Unchained (2013)
Directed by Quentin Tarantino
Starring Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson

'Gentlemen, you had my curiosity
But now, you have my attention.'

Django Unchained is Quentin Tarantino's debut in the Western genre, or as he calls it, the 'Southern'. It is set two years before the Civil War in a Deep South rife with the slave trade. Django (Foxx) is freed by German dentist-turned-bounty-hunter Dr. King Schulz (Waltz) so as to assist him in finding his next targets, the three Brittle brothers. After a prosperous winter of vigilante justice, they set off to rescue Django's wife Broomhilda (Washington) from sickly sweet plantation owner Calvin Candie (DiCaprio).

Now, I may be a bit biased with this one. I'm a huge Tarantino fan, the classic Pulp Fiction and brilliant Inglourious Basterds being my top two, and have been excited for the release of Django ever since I heard about it last year. But I have to say, I loved this film.

Everything is good here; the soundtrack is effortlessly cool, the acting incredible, the tension unbearable and the comedy brilliant. 

Django is full of Western iconography, with plenty of swooping camera angles, pistols drawn from hips and close ups of beer spilling over tankards. Tarantino is the master of switching the atmosphere between the  laugh-out-loud and the downright frightening, including a memorable scene at Calvin Candie's dinner table.

Speaking of Candie, Leonardo DiCaprio's sycophantic monster is the highlight of the film. He brings a slimy unease to the screen, and there is always the sense of rage and psychosis simmering under the overly polite exterior. He is like a petulant boy at times and a heartless villain at others, and him and Samuel L. Jackson as the devoted Stephen make for a great comedic pairing. 

As for the 'good guys', Christoph Waltz is excellent as always, pulling off reels of smart dialogue effortlessly as well as truly emotional moments between him and Django. Jamie Foxx does well as the vengeful slave, showing a real progression through the film from someone unable to read and too sympathetic to fire a fatal bullet, to a convincing hero who is as resourceful as the German who unchained him. Foxx has a real physical presence and has you rooting for him, but gets a bit lost surrounded by massive performances by those around him.

A character I personally found issue with was Django's wife Broomhilda, played by the beautiful Kerry Washington. She's very much a damsel-in-distress for the whole film which gets a bit wearing, but in terms of the story she couldn't really be anything else. A German fairytale is at the center of the plot, with Django playing a 'real life Siegfried' who dodges a fearsome dragon and walks through hellfire to save his beloved Broomhilda, simply because 'she's worth it'.

One thing to be warned of is the violence. This is, of course, a Tarantino film, so expect the usual cartoonish gunfights and lashings of spurting red stuff, but there is also some pretty gruesome scenes involving dogs, whippings and a particularly brutal 'Mandingo fight'. I don't think it's anything an over-18 audience can't handle, but it will have you wincing in your seat (which is, of course, the point). The director has faced slavery head on, and made the unthinkable racism the real horror of the film.

The film is most definitely a triumph and is seriously enjoyable to watch, but, I hate to say it, it is long. Really long. Although the ending is certainly gratifying and worth the wait, it feels like it should come about half an hour before it actually does. Despite that, it will definitely be one I'll watch again and again!

Rating: Not my favourite Tarantino, but still utterly brilliant.
5 out of 5!

Go see this film!

Thanks for reading,



  1. I really wanna go see this film! I think i might have to after your 5/5 rating :)

    Great blog, keep up the good work. Now following :)


  2. You should! It's amazing :-)
    Thank you!