Cast: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz
Writer and Director: Quentin Tarantino.
***'s out of four.
Quentin Tarantino first rewrote World War II and had Jewish soldiers killing German Nazi's in "Inglorious Basterds". Now he's rewriting the history of slavery by having a black man kill off a bunch of racist white folks in "Django Unchained". This is an obvious homage and mash up of both spaghetti westerns and Blaxploitation flicks. If you are a fan of his other movies, you are going to love this, but if not you are going to find it to be somewhat offensive. Mr. Tarantino never holds back on anything, and while it is very funny it does show the dark side of a horrible time in American history.
The story is common amongst most of Tarantino's filmography and that is the revenge one. Django(Jamie Foxx) is a slave en route to a plantation when he is picked up by a bounty hunter named Dr. Schultz(Christoph Waltz). He offers Django his freedom and a chance to rescue his wife(Kerry Washington) if he can help identify a group of bandits that he is hunting. Their journey leads them to a plantation owned by Calvin Candie(Leonardo DiCaprio) where his wife is being kept.
When it comes to great characters and acting, it's never done as good as a Tarantino movie, and everyone here just shines. Even small roles by Jonah Hill and John Jarratt are even memorable. I'm glad that Jamie Foxx got this role over Will Smith because I don't believe the Fresh Prince could pull off some of the more intense moments this character had to endure. Christoph Waltz is indeed the much needed humor of the story, and his interaction with Foxx is really remarkable. I hope they both get to work with each other again soon. Casting Leonardo DiCaprio as the head villain was a stroke of genius, because that character at times can be very goofy and somewhat charming, but when he becomes menacing and vicious. Oh man do you feel it. This is by far his best work since :"Catch Me If You Can".
I for one love that Quentin Tarantino is in love with movies and wants to reference a bunch of older ones into his features. His other movies are chock full of moments from other films which some may find to be a bit pretentious, but I never do. I consider him to be a mash up DJ who is putting a fresh new twist to those other films. Take the scene from "Kill Bill Vol 1" where Daryl Hannah's character enter the hospital and the whistling. That piece of music was used in another movie called"Twisted Nerve" by Bernard Hermann, but it's use was so much effective in the other movie. There are several other moments like that in "Django Unchained" I recognize them from other flicks, but Tarantino makes them his own. At least when he uses a song it actually goes with that moment of the story instead of just trying to sell what ever is popular.
The only bad thing I can say is that it goes on a bit too long. There are a few moments where I thought the movie was going to end, making way for a sequel. That would be just fine because I would love to see more adventures with these characters in the future. I just feel that they could have tighten up the ending a little bit more. This was the first feature not edited by Sally Menke who sadly passed away in 2010. She was Tarantino's editor ever since "Reservoir Dogs", and her not being involved with this project is sorely missed. I think Fred Raskin does a fine job, and if he continues to work on his craft he will be very good. I shouldn't really comment on this aspect, but if you go back and watch some of his other movies. You will see that there is no problems with pacing where this one has.
There are going to be some who are going to find the use of the word nigger to be offensive when seeing this. I'm not using the whole N-Word scenario when describing that word. I'm reminded of the Louis C.K bit where when people use the safe "N-Word". It puts the word nigger into my head. Why do I have to be the one to think of ugly language? Why can't you take responsibility and just say it. A few of the characters who are using the word nigger are racist white folks so it would make sense for them to use it throughout the movie. There are a few black characters who do use it, but they are usually talking to white folks when they do. It's all about context people.
All in all, "Django Unchained" is a very fun flick and I for one am very glad that history is being rewritten with so much bad ass integrity.