A former slave and a German bounty hunter become unlikely allies in the battle against a tyrannical plantation owner in this western from visionary director Quentin Tarantino. Two years before the Civil War pits brother-against-brother, German-born fugitive hunter Dr. King Schultz (Academy Award-winner Christoph Waltz) arrives in America determined to capture the outlaw Brittle brothers dead or alive. In the midst of his search, Dr. Schultz crosses paths with Django (Academy Award-winner Jamie Foxx), a freed slave and skilled tracker who seeks to rescue his beloved wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) from ruthless plantation owner Calvin Candie (Academy Award-nominee Leonardo DiCaprio). Django and Dr. Schultz will have to come out with pistols blazing if they ever hope to free Broomhilda from Candyland and the clutches of its vile proprietor. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz, Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson, Walton Goggins
Release Date: Dec 25, 2012
Rated R for strong graphic violence throughout, a vicious fight, language and some nudity.
Runtime: 2 hr. 21 min.
Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama
Django Unchained is an uneven if effective entry into the Quentin Tarantino catalogue. Tarantino’s trademark mix of stark violence, even more potent here, and humor is on full display. The violence here seems much more grounded than usual, it’s brutal and harsher than some of the more cartoonish violence we’ve seen from him before. Like all of his films, you can tell Tarantino loves the genre he’s selected, Django is no different. He adjusts his shooting style to mimic many of the classic Western films something he did in Kill Bill Volume 2. Needless to say Django is a visually impressive film full of genre vibrancy throughout. Story-wise Tarantino delivers another revenge story with a, dare I say, more romantic slant. It’s straightforward for the most part and while the film didn’t lag at any point, there is plenty that could have been cut to make it a more efficient story. Regardless, Tarantino makes it all work pulling out some impressive performances from a strong cast. Jamie Foxx is stoic yet fiery and determined as the titular Django. It’s easy to forget how impressive of an actor Foxx is when he’s as focused as he is here. In full cowboy get up he’s quite the sight as well, filling out his character’s hero status with ease. Christoph Waltz returns to work with Tarantino with strong results, playing a mentorship role similar to his Basterd character but less sinister and more humane. Their chemistry together works well, creating a believable bond between the two men. Leonardo DiCaprio fills the villain’s role with a gleeful energy that’s palpable. DiCaprio brings the necessary threatening energy needed for the role. Sam Jackson also turns in his finest work in years. Like Foxx, you tend to forget how much talent these actors have because they don’t use it in all their roles. Jackson’s role feels like a caricature at first but as the film moves on he reveals more layers to the character. Both pairs of character work as a fascinating dichotomy to each other with actors on both sides putting in awards worthy performances. The situation and tension builds leading to a dizzyingly violent gunfight, close to the scale of Kill Bill Vol. 1 finale, leaves you with a firm impression of what a human shield is. After that point the film does feel a tad bit aimless, needing to close the final story threads which it does in less operatic fashion robbing it a bit of it’s power. Regardless, if you are a Tarantino fan, you’ll find so much to love here.