Starring: Jamie Foxx (Ray), Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds), Leonardo DiCaprio (Inception), Kerry Washington (The Last King of Scotland), Samuel L. Jackson (The Avengers)
Writer/Director: Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction)
Runtime: 2 hours 45 minutes
Release Date: 25 December (US), 18 January (UK)
Tarantino has once again returned to the silver screen with another genre to rejig to his stylings; in this case, the western. Does he have another classic on his hands, or is time for the master to hang up his hat?
From the first few seconds, you can tell this is a work of Mr. Tarantino. His style is instantly recognizable and yet it never gets old. His penchant for witty dialogue is shown off here to full effect, and he again creates some of the most memorable characters in recent memory. The story of Django takes many turns, some of which I’m not so fond of. The film occasionally has iffy pacing, slowing down for too long. But he always manages to pull you back in and then the pace picks up again. Despite this, the film never feels as long as it is, and that’s never a bad thing. Another thing (and I don’t want to get all Spike Lee here, but I gotta say it) is that they do use the n-word a bit too much. I’m fine with them saying it, I’m not that shrill, but they could have changed some of them just for varieties sake. The word kind of looses impact when it’s said every other sentence.
Django Unchained has some very impressive performances from a wide variety of fine actors. Foxx himself does well in the role of Django, but he never really captures it as well as anyone else. He’s by no means bad, but there is probably an actor out there much more suited to this role. Waltz, DiCaprio and Jackson all deliver some of their best work in years and all are awards worthy (though only Waltz has seemed to have gotten the nod). The rest of the cast is filled out well with some good cameos, most notably Jonah Hill and Franco Nero (the original Django).
When you think of Tarantino, you think of two things: dialogue and violence. And boy does Django Unchained do that second one. The bloodletting on display here is bombastic and ludicrous in all the right ways. The film is shot beautifully, showing off everything to great effect. Tarantino always has a knack for nailing those genre conventions, and he does it again here. From those fast zooms, to vast landscapes, and even some obvious day-for-night at one point. All of it shows that Tarantino knows his s***. The soundtrack is incredibly anachronistic as usual, but it almost always fits.
Django Unchained is probably Tarantino’s best since Pulp Fiction. It never quite matches up to that masterpiece, but it comes damn close. It’s also probably his most accessible film and easily his most fun. Check it out while you can on the big screen. It ain’t perfect, but hardly anything is.
FINAL VERDICT: 9.5/10