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Reviews » Theatrical Reviews » Django Unchained
Django Unchained
The Weinstein Company // R // December 25, 2012
Review by Jeff Nelson | posted December 24, 2012 | E-mail the Author
C O N T E N T
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Highly Recommended
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Quentin Tarantino may be a writer, director, producer, and an actor, but he's also an inventor of his very own genre. With movies such as Pulp Fiction, Tarantino has secured himself as one of the most talented filmmakers in modern filmmaking. His newest feature goes by the name of Django Unchained and word-of-mouth has had this film spreading like wildfire. However, it's the most controversial film of Tarantino's career thus far. When it comes to the time period where slave trades occurred, filmmakers must tread the material very cautiously, otherwise they just might be considered insensitive or racist. Django Unchained tells an exceptional story in in a time period that America will never be proud of.

Django (Jamie Foxx) is a slave who is set free by a German-born bounty hunter by the name of Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz). He asks Django to point out a trio of murderous criminals in order to collect on the bounty. After years of abuse, Django decides to tag along with Dr. Schultz and be his partner in bounty hunting. His one condition is for them to rescue his wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), since they were separated through a slave trade years ago. The search leads them to Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), who owns an infamous plantation. However, they're walking on thin ice, as Candie's trusted house slave, Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson), becomes suspicious about their intentions.

While Django Unchained is a completely different beast, some of the dialogue is very reminiscent of Inglourious Basterds. Given the opening sequence isn't quite as long, this film hooks audiences in extremely quickly and doesn't let go. Tarantino delivers everything one would expect from one of his movies within the first few minutes. The screenplay offers an extreme amount of intentionally humorous wit, shock, and over-the-top violence. Dr. King Schultz is provided with some of the sharpest dialogue one could possibly ask for. Once Django and Dr. Schultz are partnered together, they begin to grow a friendship. While Django takes a while to trust his new partner, Dr. Schultz welcomes him into his life with open arms. Viewers get to witness our protagonist opening up throughout the course of the motion picture. By the end of the movie, he doesn't even appear to be the same person. His personality has completely transformed into becoming somebody with a lot more confidence who learns to draw faster, both physically and psychologically. While there's a lot of humor that works throughout the picture, there's an intriguing character study present if one wishes to search it out.

By the second half of the motion picture, our protagonists have already been established, and the story moves on. The pacing is smooth, as there isn't a single lingering moment. Our leads begin hunting for Django's wife, which leads them to Calvin Candie. They cannot simply purchase her, so they find themselves telling one lie after the other. While Candie is intrigued in who they are, he's a psychotic man who will break at any moment. Audiences will be stuck at the edge of their seats from this moment until the credits are rolling. Quentin Tarantino manages to build a lot of tension through the unpredictability of the antagonist. This is where the action portion of the feature kicks into high gear. While it might be too over-the-top for some viewers, those who know what to expect will have an absolute blast with it. The ending will leave audiences extremely satisfied, as it ends on the right note.

The outstanding performances bring this fantastic script to life. Jamie Foxx does an excellent job as Django. He breathes life into the character by developing genuine connections with his fellow actors on screen. Christoph Waltz and Leonardo DiCaprio deliver the two strongest performances in the entire picture. Waltz provides a more subtle approach to Dr. King Schultz, while DiCaprio is convincingly brutal and aggressive as Calvin Candie. Both of these actors immerse themselves in their characters and deliver Oscar-worthy performances that will be remembered. Waltz is so undeniably witty and natural on screen that it's hard not to adore his character. On the other hand, Candie is an utterly despicable character, but DiCaprio takes it to a level that few actors could have. Samuel L. Jackson does well in a supporting role as Stephen. Django Unchained has a group of brilliant actors and absolutely none of their talent has been put to waste.

Django Unchained is one of the few great western pictures that have been released in a while. The time period has been portrayed extremely well through the costumes and set designs. A lot of detail has gone into ensuring that audiences will be immersed in this period. Quentin Tarantino's stylistic fingerprints are all over the action sequences. The bloodshed is completely over-the-top, which is what a lot of moviegoers have come to love from his motion pictures, but others might find it to be a bit too much. Those who are squeamish should probably avoid seeing this one. The ending features one of the most insane shoot-outs you'll see in a western flick with an incredibly gory outcome. Everybody involved in the visual portion of this production have put together some impressive work.

Even though it's not Tarantino's greatest film, Django Unchained easily makes it into the top ten best movies of 2012. This motion picture is incredibly witty, shocking, violent, and most of all - explosively entertaining. Once this movie digs its hooks into you, it doesn't let go until the credits are done rolling. However, I don't think that everybody will "get it." This definitely isn't for everybody, but Tarantino fans should take my review as a must-see, while it comes with an extremely high recommendation to the rest of the moviegoing audiences. Django Unchained is an insanely engaging movie worth seeing on the big screen.

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