“Django Unchained” is the latest from the mind of Quentin Tarantino. It is probably his most polarizing entry in to his personal filmography yet. Making a spaghetti western during the time of slavery in American is certain to upset a few people. After seeing it for myself I can safely say that it is definitely not for everyone.
Did I find it disrespectful towards those who suffered because of slavery? I do not think so. The events that take place are definitely exaggerated but are pretty accurate terms of the kinds of things that went on during the times before the civil war.
The story follows a freed slave named Django played by Jamie Foxx. His mission in life is to make enough money so he can buy the freedom of his wife, Brunhilde. She is owned by a particularly despicable slave owner named Calvin Candie played by Leonardo DiCaprio. His plantation is called Candyland.
As the film opens, a Bounty Hunter named Dr. King Schultz, played by Christoph Waltz, happens upon the Speck brothers in the dead of night. They are in the slave trade and happen to be shipping recently purchased slaves across the land. Schultz is looking for a specific slave named Django who was previously owned by a ruthless gang called the Brittle Brothers. Schultz does not know what they look like but Django does. When the Speck brothers refuse to sell any of their slaves Schultz kills one and leaves the other trapped.
Schultz agrees to give Django his freedom and help him track down his wife if he assists in finding and killing the Brittle Brothers. Django agrees and together they form a partnership, chasing down wanted criminals for bounties.
Eventually they catch up with Candie, who makes his living in Mandingo fighting. This is the sport of having slaves fight to the death. We first meet DiCaprio’s vile character during a particularly brutal match that ends with an eye gauge and a hammer.DiCaprio shows a side of himself I never knew existed. His Calvin Candie is charming yet brutal. It is one of his best performances.
Tarantino has a knack for casting the right people in the roles he has created. I was a little nervous to see him cast Christoph Waltz right after having him play Hans Landa but this is an entirely different character. Here is a man who is a fiercely intelligent professional bounty hunter. He is also feels responsible for Django since he was the one to free him. Their scenes of training together are the heart of the movie.
As Django, Jamie Foxx is simply amazing. His transformation from a terrified slave to a confident gun fighter is nothing short of extraordinary. This is one of the few Tarantino movies in which I hope there will be a sequel because Django was just getting started in his journey.
“Django Unchained” was such an exhilarating experience. Visually Tarantino is at his peak. The way he shoots landscapes and sets has come a long way. Even the action sequences are exciting and have a real sense of danger. I will admit that the gore was a bit over the top but I didn’t find it distracting. You can never tell who is going to survive in a Tarantino movie either. He is not afraid to kill off main characters as long as it feels like it is part of the story.
“Django” is pure pop corn entertainment of the highest variety. Like I said it is not for everyone but if you are a fan of Tarantino then you pretty much know what to expect. It is a unique experience like no other as well as one of the best films of the year.