Movie Review: Django Unchained
Pros:A brutal, visceral movie. Slavery, romance and a German dentist.
Cons:Mountains of gore and violence for sensitive types.
A slave in pre-Civil War Mississippi gets an interesting career opportunity as a bounty hunter and sets about finding his wife.
All types of lines become lost to a Tarantino-type glaucoma as acceptability, expectations, visuals and verbs are punched through the screen. Christopher Waltz has reason to employ Jamie Foxx. Oh, and this employment opportunity comes two years before before the American Civil War so before you can process anything you will encounter the ‘N’ word lashed out at such a rate you may worry you’re participating in a hate crime.
Waltz takes charge as Dr. Schultz, confident and characterful, and takes Django, a man hitherto clad in chains as a commodity for white men, on a new career route. Waltz is effortless, a warm German, a lethal German and a magnanimous man that puts real heart in events. Jamie Foxx is Django, but at times Django is Jamie Foxx. The character has a blingish swagger that is very contemporary (Halloween costumers of the future take note). The character believes his own hype and comes with a celebrity sheen. This is not to take from the credibility of what Foxx does here, he progresses from a man assessing his surrounds to one that takes charge and brings the film to its brilliant conclusion. He and Waltz are two characters out-of-time, but unable to escape unscathed from the reality of this time. The scars of slavery run deep for Django and for the film, there is an uninhibited portrayal of the horror of slavery. The story is one of a man that earns his freedom through chance and good fortune. Yet there is never any suggestion that these events can or should be cast in anything other than a savage light. History was re-written in Inglorious Basterds, not here.
And yet, somehow, like a sheet shifting in a breeze, the narrative is in no way pure; it veers from the fantastical to iconographic and laces situations with treacle-rich humour without ever disrespecting the gravity of the key topic.Many odes or borrowed styles are on display: this is a powerhouse of Tarantino fusion unleashed. Possibly career resurrecting cameos, no striking scene left wanting for accompanying score and gory, gory violence all appear in a disorderly fashion. The soon to enter movie-fandom monologues are in steady supply, with Leonardo DiCaprio delivering dialogue which seems to suggest original thought is still a possibility, in a way that earns people golden statuettes.
And yet however many of these familiar attributes might be in supply, there can be no certainty as to how events will pan out; the film is as much a guessing game as it is a crazy viewing trip. Nothing happens to suggest the characters or indeed the audience can expect a happy ending; equally nothing happens to suggest we will be left wanting.