Django Unchained is the new feature from everyone’s favourite film geek, turned stylish auteur Quentin Tarantino. This isn’t a film about slavery; it’s a ‘Tarantino film’ about slavery. It has all of his directorial trademarks; excessive violence, pop culture references and long character monologues. However Tarantino is not above criticism and this film does have some negatives.
The plot revolves around the, polite yet deadly, bounty hunter Dr. Schultz played by Christoph Waltz and the slave Django played by Jamie Foxx. Django is promised that if he assists him in bounty hunting he will be given his freedom and help to free his wife from a cruel plantation owner played by Leonardo DiCaprio. Django then becomes an expert bounty hunter and sidearm master, hungry for revenge on the white slave traders.
Firstly the film is about an hour to long, when I came out of the screening me and my friends actually tallied up the scenes which could have been cut (I also recommend you play this game). I also found the film extremely self-indulgent and Tarantino’s recent behaviour in interviews has not helped my reservations, for example he has frequently claimed that he is responsible for people talking about slavery due to his film. I also expect the film to be very controversial due to amount of times the “N word” is used. Now contextually I imagine its usage is very historically accurate, but Tarantino has scripted it into so many of his other films that it almost seems like he’s obsessed with the word, it’s quite worrying to be honest.
However these flaws do not even amount to the worst thing about the film… Quentin Tarantino’s cameo! I mean what is there to say about it? He has demonstrated in the past that he is a poor actor, but his other roles make him look like Laurence Olivier compared to this performance. His attempt at what I believe is an Australian accent is horrendous and is sure to go down alongside Dick Van Dyke’s attempt as a cockney Bert in Mary Poppins (1964) as one of the worst screen voices of all time. Also he looks totally miscast in a western film; I know I’m not reviewing looks here but he didn’t look like someone I’d expect to find in the old west, more like a geeky video store clerk during a Western sale.
However everything that Tarantino is known for doing well is present here and I did find myself engaged by the film. I liked the homages to old films and there’s even a cameo by original Django star Franco Nero. What I like about Tarantino is you don’t even need to spot the references to enjoy them. Overall I think Django Unchained is a welcomed revival to the western genre and many people will leave the film feeling nostalgic. Although the film isn’t flawless I still recommend you see it as it is enormously entertaining.