Friday, December 28, 2012

Django Unchained

Django Unchained has every single element of a perfect Quentin Tarantino movie with the added pleasure of being done almost better than he has ever done before.  If you are a fan of Quentin Tarantino then you will love this film.  It has elements from "Pulp Fiction" (1994), "Reservoir Dogs" (1992),  "Inglourious Basterds" (2009) and even "Kill Bill" (2003).  The idea of a spaghetti western (or in this case a southern) is lost to many as the genre is forgotten by Hollywood.  Of course if someone can bring the idea of the grind house back, there is only one person that I would look to for a spaghetti southern. 

Former dentist, Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz), is working as a bounty hunter when he buys the freedom of a slave, Django (Jamie Foxx), and trains him to be a bounty hunter as well with a mission.  The doctor gives Django the option of helping him hunt down and kill the Brittle Brothers; a ruthless gang of killers whom he needs Django to recognize for him.  In return, the doctor will free Django from slavery completely and help find and rescue Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) from the charming but ruthless Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), who owns Candyland, a plantation where male slaves are trained to be Mandingo fighters and female slaves are forced into prostitution.

The Quentin Tarantino signature starts with an amazing soundtrack that includes Rick Ross, John Legend and many others.  What has become a signature along with his popularity is the amazing casting, even in the smallest roles.  The Klan leader portrayed by Don Johnson and Jonah Hill was possibly the funniest in the film.  Jamie Foxx is absolutely brilliant as he is more of an action star than ever before with a most amazing shootout where he literally kills all the white people.  Christoph Waltz is just a joy to watch on screen.  He transforms so easily into each of his characters, and delivers his best performance since "Carnage" (2011).  Certainly I realize that was just last year, but I also can't wait to see his upcoming portrayal of Mikhail Gorbachev.  Leonardo DiCaprio has matured into an actor that is so much more enjoyable to watch than when he was a younger.  His performance reminded me of Tom Hanks from "Ladykillers" and was equally despicable. 

For anyone hopingt to watch a film about slavery and have any factual elements, you might want to look to "Roots" instead.  Much like "Inglourious Basterds" had little factual basis for WWII, the revisionist approach used by Quentin Tarantino is for entertainment value only. 

I really enjoyed how the story was told through the fairytale of Brynhildr as only Quentin Tarantino could.  That being said Django Unchained may go down at some point as Tarantino's greatest film, which is why I give it 5 Quacks and expect to see several nominations to come.  In addition to a directing nomination, Quentin Tarantino should also get an original screenplay nod.  The film is rich with characters, and among them the ones that stand out the most are without a doubt Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz and Leonardo DiCaprio for a combination of best actor and supporting nominations.  So go see this movie, but remember that the D is silent hillbilly.

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