Movie Review: Django Unchained
Had a chance to see a screener of Django Unchained Tuesday night, and I was very impressed; great movie.
Set in the South two years before the Civil War, Django Unchained stars Jamie Foxx as Django, a slave whose brutal history with his former owners lands him face-to-face with German-born bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz). Schultz is on the trail of the murderous Brittle brothers, and only Django can lead him to his bounty. Honing vital hunting skills, Django remains focused on one goal: finding and rescuing Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), the wife he lost to the slave trade long ago. Django and Schultz’s search ultimately leads them to Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), the proprietor of “Candyland,” an infamous plantation. Exploring the compound under false pretenses, Django and Schultz arouse the suspicion of Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson), Candie’s trusted house slave.
The movie was fairly predictable in that you had no doubt it was a Quentin Tarantino film. It had the violence and bloodshed, the cinematic elements, the melee, crazy costumes and even crazier scenarios. The transitions and soundtrack are typical as well, but with Tarantino typical typically also means awesome and Django Unchained is no exception. You should probably know by now if you like Tarantino films and really that’s all you need to know in order to decide if you should see this one or not.
The acting was excellent too. We know Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson are great actors, but Christoph Waltz did an amazing job in his role of the ruthlessly apologetic bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz as well.
The movie is listed as a drama and a western, but it has plenty of humorous moments as well. Not least of which is a scene with Jonah hill and a Klan wardrobe malfunction, or pre-Klan since 1858 may have been too early for them. The music is wonderfully anachronistic and hilarious. I know there are allusions to other westerns, like Blazing Saddles, but having not seen many westerns I couldn’t point them specifically but I could sense a familiarity to the dialogue and the audience chuckles gave it away.
The plot itself starts with Django being rescued and then spends some time with the bounty hunter bit and character development before it takes off to Candie-land in a Bondesque infiltration mission to find, rescue, and free Django’s wife Broomhilda; this is where DiCaprio and Jackson come in. The events are mostly predictable, but it doesn’t take anything away from the movie and you’re kept wonderfully entertained and in suspense about what’s happening.
It seems like many movies are earmarked for at least awards nominations before they’re even completed these days. It comes off as an inner-circle a popularity contest sometimes, but Django Unchained was probably the best movie I’ve seen all year, so I’ll be happy to see it get that type of recognition.