4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Django Unchained is supposedly a very loose reworking Sergio Corbucci's spaghetti-western Django. I believe it has a closer affiliation to the exploitation cult film Mandingo (1975) about a slave taught to fight other slaves - this movie for its time was somewhat an outrageous product, a film that Mr Tarantino has praised, while by and large the critics' have rejected the film with extreme disapproval.
The lead actor is played by Foxx, who plays the Django, a slave who is in a chain gang, across their path comes one Dr King Schultz, a German who is well-groomed and rather unconventional in his ways, he claims to be a travelling dentist; Schultz carriage is a small wagon with a huge model of a molar tooth on the top. Our Shultz, after some initial reluctance from the slavers, buys Django and promises him his freedom in return for a favour: he needs Django to help him track three white fugitives that have bounty on their heads.
As the narrative progress we find that Django proves himself a good assistant and a talented shot. Through some back story we find that Django was married and his wife speaks the German language and she was named Brünnhilde, unfortunately her current owners mishear her name and call her "Broomhilda". Due to her predilection for running away she is branded on the face and forced to work as a "comfort" girl. As mutual respect sets in between the eccentric German and Django, it is agreed that that will rescue his wife Brünnhilde.
Through the story we meet inept KKK posse the characters are somewhat reminiscent of the KKK in Blazing Saddles. We then meet with Candie (played rather eloquently by DiCaprio) the owner of Candyland Plantation his evil is only matched by his apparent need to sound and look charming. Django needs all his guile to pretend to be that of the most hated of things, a "Mandingo", a fighter-promoter his double dealing is only matched to Stephen's domestic bondage to his master and his family, aptly played Samuel Jackson.
There are moments of pure brilliant direction mastery of the rather over the top violence and I feel the overuse of the N word, was not needed. At two hours and 45 Django is a long film - undoubtedly, this film better than Tarantino's WW2 film Inglourious Basterds. The relationship between Schultz and Django is well managed and their friendship really looks convincing and their resulting comedic episodes are well done. Well worth a four star rating - with flaws.
I disagree with "Sal Mander" the "critic" colourful assessment of this movie.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 11 January 2014
Having read some of the long-winded 1 star reviews immediately after watching the film i have to disagree with most of the criticism.
THE GOOD: Well written and excellent performances from all the cast.....except Tarantino himself who should keep to the other side of the camera or just be a cameo in the background. The action in this film is very violent and over-the-top with all the red spray but hey it wasn't too over-the-top and i did enjoy it.
THE BAD: For me there was only one scene that should have been left on the cutting-room floor and that was the whole Klu-Klux-Klan hoodie part, i felt there was no need or justification for this scene at all...the leader was not shown in the film to be antagonised enough to get a large group of men together and the film would have been better without it.
One other aspect of the movie i wasn't really keen to swallow was the story the two main characters come up with to get Leonardo DiCaprio to release Django's wife, i felt they were beaten by their own over-complicated cleverness. A better story with DiCaprio being for some reason rather attached to Django's wife would have been more believable and improved the film in that respect. IN SHORT: Considering Django's wife was not considered anything special on the plantation it seemed strange that the two main characters should come up with such a needless complex plan.
THE UGLY: Certain characters in the film portrayed the ugly side to human nature rather well so that's about all the ugly there is.
OVERALL: This 2 hour 45 minute well-made film kept me riveted all the way through which is rare for me. I would have given this film 5 stars but for the reasons stated above so i take one star away but please do see this film, it is CLASSIC and you will more than likely enjoy this film very much. Thankyou for reading :)
72 of 82 people found the following review helpful
on 25 July 2013
This film will make you smile, laugh, feel nauseated and think on about the horror of the times it's set in. Its a classic. Christopher Waltz stole the the show for me. His witty and clever comments and acting had perfect timing. Not to mention his facial expressions.
Jamie Foxx was great as the lead character but I enjoyed Waltz much more. It's fast and furious from the get go. It's gruesome, but in classic OTT Tarantino style.
The story is clever enough and superbly acted by one and all.
One exception is Samuel L Jackson. His performance was so overwhelmingly good there aren't words to describe it.
This movie's shocking and gory as I'm sure it would have been during that terrible time. BUT it's also very very entertaining and hugely funny. I can't recommend it highly enough. 10/10
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
In `Django Unchained' Quentin Tarantino continues to fictionalise history, as he did so successfully in `Inglorious B's'. Here he brings his violent comic-book style of film making to the period of black plantation-slavery in the pre-civil war southern states of the US.
Essentially DU is a fantasy-revenge western containing all the clichés of that genre as written by Sergio Leone in the 1960s. The screenplay is an amalgam of `Kill Bill' (the relentless repetitive splattering of enemies one by one, and sometimes 10 by 10) and IB (the fantasy revenge of a persecuted minority on their evil-cartoon-cut-out oppressors). As such its target audience is more likely to be juvenile and sensation-seeking than mature and sophisticated.
The saving grace of all Tarantino's films is the witty and clever dialogue, which here (unlike the action and basic plot) is anything but formulaic and continues to entertain throughout. The excellent Christoph Waltz trumps even his stellar appearance as the Nazi villain in IB to deliver a second Oscar-winning performance as King Schultz, the catalyst who holds the story together and drives the action for all but the final reel. Waltz's dialogue is witty, original, cliché-free; delivered with a rare commanding intelligence and perfect timing. Leonardo DiCaprio turns in yet another outstanding character performance as the monstrous white racist and slave-owner Calvin J. Candie, Schultz's ultimate nemesis. Considering the restrictions of his dialogue Jamie Foxx is just OK but simply doesn’t have the screen presence of for example Clint Eastwood in the ‘Dollars’ movies to which DU pays homage; Samuel L. Jackson however shines in a difficult role as smart, sycophantic house slave Stephen inexplicably devoted to Candie. The only disappointment among the main characters is Kerry Washington as Django's enslaved and long-suffering wife Broomhilda. In place of the strong ballsy character full of defiance and witty dialogue that she might have been she instead just whimpers, whines and suffers causing the audience to wonder what on Earth does Django see in her?
The mostly clever script however does not rescue the film from the usual Tarantino excess. Unable to resist the temptation to titillate the juvenile sensibilities of his target audience and instead offer the audience any deeper perspectives on slavery, almost every sentence of dialogue for the whole 165 minutes is sprinkled with the `n' & `f' words. The ketchup-splatter violence gets to be - well just dull, actually. It's overdone to the point of pastiche, so anaesthetises its audience to the degree that all impact is lost. Tarantino needs to mature as a film maker and realise that if a measure of profanity in the right place adds to the power of a script and occasional acts of violence can hook the audience, then relentless repetition actually diminishes the viewing experience and can cause any mature thinking audience (with a mental age above 12) to lose interest and switch off.
So overall just OK: good dialogue and screenwriting with some exemplary acting performances, but ultimately marred by plastic, splatter-cartoon violence, almost ubiquitous unsophisticated racial stereotyping, little attempt at historical accuracy and as a film, lacking in serious substance. This is a shame, as the result could have been so much better. But hey, you may say, at the end of the day it's just schlock entertainment and fantasy fulfilment, not meant to be real - which is true.
21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on 24 March 2014
This is one of the most complex and compelling of Tarantino's films, and will appeal to his dyed-in-the-wool fans and also those interested in the subject it addresses - slavery. Django is the story of a runaway slave who was caught and punished. When the film starts he has been separated from his wife and sold, and is chained to other slaves being dragged across the frosty south. He becomes associated with a bounty hunter, played by Christopher Waltz who gives a spellbinding performance. Together they form a friendship which leads them on a quest to find Django's wife. There are frequent moments of black humour between them, reminiscent of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
Along with his usual amount of splattered blood, Tarantino brings to the screen with amazing force the true horrors of black slavery, whilst sensitively building characters to bring these tortured people to life. Leonardo Di Caprio gives a chillingly friendly portrayal of Monsieur Candie - a slave trader involved in Mandingo fighting (two slaves fighting to the death). His appearance in the film changes the tone to one of overwhelming menace and racks up the tension.
The one criticism I have about the film is that Quentin Tarantino doesn't give a convincing performance in his cameo role. Quentin, stick to what you're good at, and leave the acting to those who can. :o)
47 of 56 people found the following review helpful
on 7 May 2013
Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) is a well spoken bounty hunter who acquires Django (Jamie Foxx) to find and kill some men who are wanted, "dead or alive." Dr. Schultz isn't too keen on the "live" part.
The film divides itself into two parts. After the bounty hunting episodes are through, our duo conceive a plan to rescue the wife of Django (Kerry Washington) by purchasing her from Candie Land plantation. Dr. Schultz has no stomach for slavery or slave owners. Leonardo DiCaprio doesn't enter the film until the second part.
Like Tarantino films it incorporates humor. The bag over the head scene was reminiscent of something we might have seen in "Blazing Saddles." The flashbacks are minimal and not confusing. There is of course the over the top climatic ending and plenty of blood.
I have to question the use of the MF bomb several times in this picture. The first known usage of the word is the 1930s. It is speculated the phrase originated during slavery as a way to describe white owners who would take black mothers as comfort women. The phrase would have a specific meaning and not used in the generic sense that Samuel L. Jackson tossed about.
Tarantino fans will not be disappointed. Great sound track.
Parental Guidance: F-bomb,N-word, nudity (Kerry Washington). No sex. Killing and slow motion blood splatter.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 4 March 2014
Filled with all the swearing and violence of a normal Tarantino film, Django Unchained hits a great story on the problems with slavery and how one slave made it as a free man. Also with a great cast consisting of Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson, with tiny parts from Jonah Hill and Tarantino himself, you could tell it will be a great film. With some humour on such a hard story line to fit jokes in, the writing is brilliant and the gore is very bloody. If you are a fan of violent films with a huge all-star cast, I push you to see this film, you won't regret it.
on 22 January 2014
Dr. King Schultz buys the freedom of a slave, Django, and trains him with the intent to make him his deputy bounty hunter, but both have common intentions..
Instead, he is led to the site of Django's wife who is under the hands of Calvin Candie, a ruthless plantation owner...
One cannot deny the fact that Tarantino can write a brilliant screenplay, no matter what the quality of film (Inglorious good, Death Proof not so) there is fluid, almost poetic dialogue, that keeps you fixed to the screen no matter what the actors are talking about.
For example, Inglorious and the opening, Pulp Fiction and the pocket watch, and Reservoir Dogs and the beauty of Madonna.
Here is no different. From the explanation to the Marshall why King killed the Sheriff, to the facing screen explanation of a slave camp by Jackson near the finale. Ir's all electric stuff and is as good, if not better than what he has done before.
Again, one thing the director can do, is get performances from actors like no one else.
Dicaprio has never been better than he is in this, his Candie one of the most colourful and sadistic of Tarantino characters I have ever seen, and Jackson too, funny and Scary in equal measures, it's a shame the Academy hasn't recognised him for this, it's his best performance.
Waltz is on a par with Inglorious, and ironically Foxx is the weakest link here, having the blandest dialogue, and not really owning the film until Candie and King are long gone.
The action is intense, and the final act in the house is well worth sitting through the run time.
And this is one of the films biggest problems, it's way too long. we have a 105 minute cracking movie about vengeance, with an hour of bothersome exposition thrown in. Yes, we like the references to everything exploitation, but those movies didn't feel like a chore every now and again.
Then we have the obligatory director cameo, which is terrible, and ruins the flow of the film slightly.
Other than that, it's still a great movie, with some career best performances and dialogue that is too die for.
on 16 January 2014
When asked about `Django Unchained', Steve McQueen, the director of '12 Years a Slave' is very diplomatic simply stating that the film was interesting as it showed you could tackle the horror of slavery in different ways. Whilst `Slave' is a bold and heart-breaking look at one of the worst times in man's recent history, `Django' is more exploitation. Does that make it a bad film? Whilst one aimed to be noble and highlight the importance of history, the other choice to be exciting and entertaining and still manages to pose some questions of its own.
Django is a slave, that is until he meets the eccentric dentist/bounty hunter Dr King Schultz. He is released into the German Immigrants custody and becomes his partner in hunting down criminals for cash. Not the most noble of causes, but Django is also looking for his wife, Broomhilda. Will Dr Schultz help him in his mission?
Love him or hate him, Quentin Tarantino has been a unique and refreshing voice in cinema for a long time now. His films are likely to court controversy, be they too violent, too sexual, or the use of racist language. As well as causing this hoo-ha, he has nearly always managed to entertain. This is certainly the case here. `Django' is a great action film that has some dramatic elements, but also great comedy. The cast are phenomenal; Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz spark off one another as the leads, with the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio supporting by playing wonderfully against type.
It helps that the script is so well written. Tarantino always writes punchy affairs and he attacks slavery in his usual hell for leather style. The story is not about slavery as such, but it is the main backdrop. There are issues like so many of Tarantino's films; the last section is a little too long, some of the characters are more caricature, the use of violence and language will put off some. However, these flaws can be forgiven when you are watching a brilliantly acted film with some wonderful action sequences and moments of dark comedy and contemplation.
The film covers deserts and snow peaks; both look best on BluRay. The behind the scenes featurettes on the disc are interesting, but I do feel that they could have gone a little deeper and been combined into one longer documentary.
In 1858, the year in which the film is set, there were around 4.5 million slaves in the United States a tiny fraction of whom were treated relatively decently by their owners and as many of us, I imagine, receive the majority of our history lessons through the medium of film, the closest representatives of this enlightened bunch would be the owners of Tara and Twelve Oaks from Margaret Mitchell's (or David O. Selznick's) Gone With the Wind. Following the opening title sequence of the film of that book is a little ditty that would seek to persuade viewers of the heroic nature of the old south:
`There was a land of Cavaliers and Cotton fields called the Old South.......
Here in this pretty world Gallantry took its last bow.
Here was the last to be seen of Knights and their Ladies Fair, of Master and of Slave.
Look for it only in books for it is a dream remembered.
A Civilization gone with the wind.'
I suppose it all depends upon your personal definitions of `civilization' and `gallantry', a point many of those 4.5 million might have contested had they been given even the slightest opportunity.
Tarantino's film, is positioned at the other end of the spectrum in terms of `slave' movies and, as such, stands in stark contrast to the cotton candy fluff depicted in GWTW. It will be no surprize to his fans that there are scenes of graphic violence: but, set against this, Tarantino's particular brand of humour is evident throughout, particularly personified in the performance of the excellent Christoph Waltz and the somewhat idiosyncratic soundtrack. There is also the rather `in your face' homage to the spaghetti western complete with Morricone score and an amusing send up of W. D. Griffith's `The Birth of a Nation' in which some ku klux clowns argue about the quality of their ridiculous head gear!
But, aside from being superbly entertaining and some marvelous performances, notably by Samuel L Jackson and the brilliant DiCaprio, the film is a powerful indictment of the kind of `civilization' that took for granted the subjugation of a whole people simply on the basis of their colour.
The blu ray looks great and there are a range of interesting special features; e.g. Reimagining the Spaghetti Western.