“Django Unchained” Review

Tarantino movies are usually pretty odd in their own right, based on the few that I have seen.I feel anyone viewing one of his movies expecting a normal experience is in for a surprise. I remember the first time I saw “Inglorious Bastards”, all of the previews made it look like a shoot-em-up nazi action movie. But instead, “Inglorious Bastards” was a very dialogue heavy film relying on pure actor quality, and it does so brilliantly. The direction of the film was completely unpredictable, the significance of the in-depth dialogues was thought-provoking, and the uniqueness of the non-standard presentation made it an excellent movie.

“Django” (D is silent) has that artistic splash transplanted to the States. The fantastic cast includes Samuel L. Jackson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx, and Christopher Waltz, a regular now to the Tarantino films as well as the star performance of the movie. The usual wild pace of Western films seemed to be a natural fit for Tarantino. There are lots of guns blazing in exciting action sequences as Django and the Doctor bounty hunt their way across frontier and the south, and with that a larger bend to the era around the civil war. The central themes around this film focus on slavery, and is hilariously illustrated through a lot of satirical dialogue. The Klu Klux Klan is a target of ridicule including a cameo by Jonah Hill, shortly after a scene in which a plantation owner must disastrously explain to one of his slaves how the freed black Django is an exception to slavery.

The greatest satire comes from Samuel L. Jackson playing the slave Stephen at the Candyland (love the name) plantation. Upon the arrival of Django on horse, Stephen is completely appalled by the thought of a black man being treated on equal footing as his master, throwing out the N-word on a regular basis to describe the inferiority and disgrace. Stephen is also a close friend of the slave master, and is never himself addressed as a slave but more as a servant. This parallel is the constant and subtle force poking philosophical fun of slavery as an institution in the latter half of the movie. Most of the movie is dedicated to pointing out slavery’s fallacies and injustices, which is the similar underlying revenge driven plot that Tarantino showed off in “Inglorious Bastards”. There may also be the connection that Tarantino chose to make a western movie set in the slave holding south to compare the primitive and lawless nature he sees of the both societies. But these inflections are layered beneath the story most of the time and are entangled with the explosions and gunshots as to not make it an imposing bore.

Although “Django” drags in a few scenes at the end, it is easily one of the best movies of the genre in modern film making. Funny, action packed, spectacular story with a great cast and dialogue; it all points to a must see Tarantino movie.

I give it a 9.3/10

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