Movie review: Django Unchained (MA)

THERE’S some things that you just need in a Quentin Tarantino film.

You need a kick-ass soundtrack, a tense stand-off, a big shootout, some black comedy and blood. Lots of blood.

Fortunately for Tarantino fans, Django Unchained provides all of that and a bit more.

Set in the 1858 south United States, Django Unchained follows two bounty hunters as they work their way from Texas to Mississippi.

The two come together when Doctor Schultz (Christophe Waltz) frees a slave named Django (Jamie Foxx) to help him track down the Brittle Brothers, three outlaws.

When Django tells Schultz about his wife, the German doctor resolves to reunite the lovers.

With Django’s wife on a plantation run by Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), the task becomes even more difficult.

Tarantino has done a great job in including the aspects we expect from him but it is the entertaining and professional performances that make Django Unchained as good as it is.

Christoph Waltz and Leonardo DiCaprio are excellent in their roles, while Jamie Foxx takes a bit of time to realise the full potential he and Django have on screen.

Waltz brings a great deal of humour and charm to his role, which is a nice change from his character in Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds, the Jew Hunter. 

DiCaprio takes on the role of villain with both hands and as the racist, evil and violent plantation owner makes a transition from cliché Southern gentleman to terrifying foe with scary ease. 

Samuel L Jackson returns for another turn in a Tarantino flick playing Candie’s aged and staunchly loyal house slave.

Kerry Washington plays Django’s wife Broomhilda and Tarantino has a cameo as an Australian cowboy.

While this might be the first time Tarantino has taken on the western genre, he seems at home with it. 

Django Unchained is beautifully shot and combinations of clever editing and good music selection make certain scenes jarring, awkward, thrilling and uncomfortable.

The soundtrack is full of music that matches a country landscape as well as moulding to a modern-day vigilante theme.

Understandably, Tarantino isn’t for every one.

Tense scenes such as giving someone an adrenaline shot, slicing of a hostage’s ear and scalping people don’t sit well with all audiences.

The theme of those famous scenes are included in Django Unchained as is a lot of blood.

But like most of Tarantino’s films, a bulk of the graphic violence is off-screen and implied by clever camerawork, editing and sound.

That said, Django Unchained does seem to have a great deal more gunfire and uncomfortable moments than I remember being in Pulp Fiction or Reservoir Dogs.

No doubt, fans of Tarantino will flock to Django Unchained and probably like it but the more unsure filmgoers might take more convincing than others.

The Verdict: 4 stars.  

- Django Unchained (MA) is now showing at Bendigo Cinemas. See page 3 of the Bendigo Advertiser for details. 

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