Holy @#$% That Was Good – Django Unchained Movie Review
January 8, 2013
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Using the word “genius” to describe someone is like eating chicken noodle soup with a fork. It works, but it’s not as specific as it could be. There are many different kinds of genius. For instance, Einstein was a scientific genius, Pascal was a mathematic genius, and Quentin Tarantino is a cinematic genius.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you my hands-down favorite movie of all time: Django Unchained.
Back in 1992, Quentin Tarantino released his debut film Reservoir Dogs, a small budget film about a diamond heist, which gained a large fan base and a big pocket of cash for ‘Mr. Director.’ This was due largely in part to Tarantino’s unique perception of character’s importance, interactions, and death.
Tarantino introduced a totally unique spin on crime movies that directors drooled over and attempted to copycat. Fast forward 20 years and Tarantino has done it yet again in delivering a totally original movie that is horrific, gory, disturbing and probably one of the funniest movies of 2012.
As our popcorn is crunched and our drinks are slurped, we are transported to the Deep South in 1858. Although the movie feels like a clear cut spaghetti western, the setting creates a different genre that the cast and crew affectionately refer to as a “southern”.
The movie opens on a chain gang, lead by two slave traders who are making their way through some pretty “southern” looking areas. Among this gang is Django played by Jamie Foxx, our hero, who is ultimately freed from his binds by Dr. King Schultz played by the always enjoyable Christoph Waltz.
It seems that in whatever Waltz is in, he’s just simply fantastic, (The Green Hornet, Inglorious Basterds). But in Django Unchained, instead of acting as a merciless antagonist, he acts as the heroes mentor, a role where we haven’t seen much of Waltz; it actually looks quite good on him.
The southern equivalent of Batman and Robin, Waltz and Foxx hit it off as the dynamic duo Dr. Schultz and Django, always moving the story forward at an exciting pace that never seems to squander. The two ultimately set off to free Django’s long lost wife, Broomhilda played by the beautiful, and apparently German-speaking, Kerry Washington. And last but not least, Leonardo DiCaprio steps in as the ruthless Calvin Candie, standing between the duo and Broomhilda. In this film, he proves himself worthy as a sinister antagonist and breaks his typecast as the goody-two-shoes.
One of the many fantastic traits Django possesses is the creative and extremely professional mixture of comedy and horror. Django is one of the few films in which a man getting brutally shot in both kneecaps deserves a large amount of laughter from the audience. Although Tarantino has involved comedic relief in his past movies, humor has never been more apparent than in his latest. It seems that with every merciless kill there is a partnered quirk to go with it, much like if one were to be served a freshly severed head… à la mode.
Great attribute has to be given to Waltz, as he clearly drives the film comedically and deserves an award for Best Supporting Actor.
Full-on action scenes are few, bloody, and fantastically choreographed with creative weaponry and surprising conclusions. One extended scene that features Django vs. an entire plantation is one of the most simple yet well-done action scenes I’ve seen all year… but saying anymore would give away the rich narrative.
However, there was one major plot hole that I found during one viewing of the film. Django, a slave who has never touched a gun in his life, all of a sudden learns how to be a gun toting 99% accurate sharpshooter in one winter. Unfortunately, Django is less “plot-tight” than its predecessors. Thankfully, this minor plot deformation is small potatoes compared to the overall wonder that Tarantino has again pulled off.
Django has it all: action, comedy, romance, DYNAMITE! But these days that just isn’t enough. What sets Django apart from its predecessors is its ability to think much farther outside the box than previously thought possible. Tarantino proves himself a true cinematic genius, and could even be considered the modern day Shakespeare. Whichever way you slice it, Django Unchained is a heavy, intriguing, and anything-but-standard action flick that will hit any other movie this year out of the park.