Directed by Quentin Tarantino
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz
In 1858, bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz frees a slave named Django to help him track down three outlaw brothers. The pair partner up, then conspire to rescue Django’s wife Broomhilda from a plantation owner.
What’s ironically refreshing about a Tarantino film is that for all the time he is reprimanded for pushing boundaries in terms of his subject matters, his filming style is oddly conservative. There are no special effects, no IMAX and certainly no 3D. Django Unchained is another traditional Tarantino classic.
The film straddles a variety of genres. What is shopped as a Western appears to be not quite that, and the mythic quest itself is akin to a bloody fairytale; very sweet and coy to a point. This is the classic heist to save the girl, and if you’re not a fan of Tarantino’s usual chapters and non linear sequences, Django Unchained is electrifying as it flows directly without being encumbered by multiple perspectives.
One of the main draw backs is that our hero of the hour, Django is bizarrely unmemorable and lacking in some character in comparison to the beefy and gaudy roles we expect from Tarantino. Leonardo DiCaprio’s Calvin Candie, on the other hand, is the plantation owner who you will love-to-hate. He plays it to the ground; playful flamboyance with a sinister edge. It’s rare to see DiCaprio play such a pompous and peculiar role and proves once again that this man can act (contrary to what the Academy seems to think). His presence is always accompanied by an ominous air of violence; most evident in the dinner table standoff which is Django’s equivalent to that death trap rendezvous in the basement of Inglourious Basterds. And that’s another thing, with Christoph Waltz aboard the project, it’s hard not to compare this to Inglourious, which quite frankly is better.
Django could have run a lot faster without damaging the end product, because in truth, the story didn’t demand a screenplay that long. Nonetheless, Django Unchained validates once more that Quentin Tarantino is a true visionary and when he retires from film making, it will be a dark day for the world over because films as funny yet poignant as this will be missed.