django-unchained

Django Unchained

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July 20th, 2013 | Brandon Gabler | 0

As everyone knows, Quentin Tarantino is known for creating films that are not average. Films that bend the mind to think outside the box, not just because of the over glorified yet entertaining action, but because of the dialogue itself and character development. Stories that reach deep into the psychology and emotions felt by the memorable characters and fed by the plot, his films captivate a feeling of reality within fantasy, and the including of perverse violence, excessive gore, ironic humor, and moments that just make you say “unnnreeeal”, finishes his films into exploitative yet intelligent cinematic gold. Django Unchained not only continues to follow this suit, but is one of his best hand in the game yet. With award-winning writing and a who’s who of Hollywood cast, Django Unchained is easily the best western to hit theaters since Clint Eastwood’s western masterpiece Unforgiven was released over 20 years ago. This explosive and intense vehicle, fueled by racism and violence, drives Jamie Foxx as a young yet hardened slave to join forces with a bounty hunter (Inglorious Bastards’s Christoph Waltz) in order to rescue his bride from a charming, yet sadistic, plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio). Django not only shines, it blinds you in awe and was one of the top ten picks of 2012 by both audiences and critics alike.

Set in 1858, three years before the Civil War, the story centers on Django, a tough slave with an even tougher will, played by Jamie Foxx. After being able to identify a murderous gang of thieves known as The Brittle Brothers, he is enlisted by German bounty hunter and former dentist Dr King Shultz (Oscar winner Christoph Waltz)  to help seek and destroy this gang, with reward being his freedom. Through all of this Django plans his own mission of finding and rescuing his wife, Broomhilda (Scandal’s Kerry Washington). Realizing that they work well together, Schultz proposes to form a bounty hunter partnership with Django, hunting down the deadliest criminals the South offers, and in turn will help Django find his wife. Through twists and turns, various criminal hunts,  an angry white hooded mob and surprise cameos, they are led to a lavish and rich plantation, owned by the charismatic yet disturbed Calvin Candie (Golden Globe nominee Leonardo DiCaprio) , and houses the then-rising sport of Mandingo fighting. Trying to keep a clever charade up to not risk their true intentions, they manage to raise suspicion from trusted house slave Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson). When discovered, it becomes an intense blood bath in Django’s efforts to save his wife and gain his vengeance.

Straight from the start this movie has you hooked, combining a stellar cast with a renowned writer & director, in a genre that was almost dead in Hollywood. Popular up until the 1970’s, the western film was a fading fad that thanks to Django Unchained, has been given another shot. And Tarantino making the movie as homage to the spaghetti westerns of the ‘60’s and ‘70’s makes the film even more that must see, with influences from such spaghetti westerns as 1966’s Django and 1975’s Mandingo. From there the movie keeps climbing and climbing by plot thickeners and character growth and intense violence. The movie rarely slows down or has pauses for effect, as it is one escalation after another. And the biggest surprise for me personally was how well each actor played their respective characters, in very believable performances.

From its star, Jamie Foxx as Django is gritty and daring. A man on a mission, Foxx creates an attitude and emotion that the viewer can both sympathize and support in his quest for his wife. With great nuance, Foxx develops into a powerful anti-hero in a true battle of good vs. evil, with good actually being bent on vengeance and evil bent on dominance. Also, the fact that the hero of our film is a cowboy who was a slave is truly breaking the norm, which is refreshing and enticing to watch, as he quickly goes from slave to bounty hunter to the deadliest gun in the South. His character is almost close to that of Clint Eastwood in Westerns, tough attitude and mean presence, and will shoot anyone in their way.

Christoph Waltz, best known for his brilliant and Oscar-winning performance as the Nazi Colonel Hans Landa in Inglorious Bastards, shines ultra-bright as Dr. King Schultz, the eager and provocative bounty hunter who mentors Django in criminal catching back then, and ultimately helps Django on his personal quest to save his wife from the vicious Calvin Candie. Easily an astounding performance, Waltz plays Schultz as a man of unusual ethics, but overall morals in the bounty hunting game. Furthermore, his quick wit and sharp humor brings his character to such a level of excellence that it is no wonder that he won the 2012 best supporting actor Oscar for this role. He is intelligent, witty, and purposed. And his slight comedic reliefs add light on the dark plot twists the film takes. Probably the most amazing part of his performance was his magnetism, especially shining through interactions with DiCaprio’s character Candie. Both characters are extremely charismatic and in-depth, and the way the two just talk to each other is entertaining and real. You can feel the emotions of anger rise and eventual hate in the attitude of Schultz towards Candie, for Schultz makes it no mystery that he despises slavery and racism.

calvin candie django unchained

In one of the greatest heel turns I’ve ever seen in a movie, Leonardo DiCaprio’s portrayal of Calvin Candie is cinematic genius. Owner of the extravagant plantation Candieland, Candie is this seemingly charming southern gentleman, but in reality is a brutal and merciless slave owner with a penchant for Mandingo fighting. And throughout his cruelty to slaves he still manages to have loyal ones, specifically Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson), the “racist” house slave, a role that is a complete 180 from Jackson’s usual roles. At first he is boastful and intrigued towards Django and Schultz, but as the film progresses and he learns of their mission to rescue Django wife, he turns extremely hostile and tormenting. It is through this shift we see DiCaprio’s true acting ability, as his character becomes real, and it is astounding and entertaining together.

The plot, the characters, the setting; all brilliant. And an instant classic that could have only been done by Quentin Tarantino. The man has a way of taking real situations and making them bizarre and splatter packed, but more over stays real. Because even though most the happenings in his films are so off base, you can still imagine them actually happening. He did it with Reservoir Dogs, he did it with Pulp Fiction, and he again did it with Django Unchained. Through all the carnage and all the action, he still manages to retain a truly believable feeling that that’s how it was, how people felt, and how they reacted in the racist and slave holding areas in the pre-Civil War South, with a yet refreshing updated twist. Django Unchained will intrigue and entertain you, in what was thought to be a dying breed, the western epic.

As everyone knows, Quentin Tarantino is known for creating films that are not average. Films that bend the mind to think outside the box, not just because of the over glorified yet entertaining action, but because of the dialogue itself and character development. Stories that reach deep into the psychology and emotions felt by the memorable characters and fed by the plot, his films captivate a feeling of reality within fantasy, and the including of perverse violence, excessive gore, ironic humor, and moments that just make you say “unnnreeeal”, finishes his films into exploitative yet intelligent cinematic gold. Django Unchained not only continues to follow this suit, but is one of his best hand in the game yet. With award-winning writing and a who’s who of Hollywood cast, Django Unchained is easily the best western to hit theaters since Clint Eastwood’s western masterpiece Unforgiven was released over 20 years ago. This explosive and intense vehicle, fueled by racism and violence, drives Jamie Foxx as a young yet hardened slave to join forces with a bounty hunter (Inglorious Bastards’s Christoph Waltz) in order to rescue his bride from a charming, yet sadistic, plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio). Django not only shines, it blinds you in awe and was one of the top ten picks of 2012 by both audiences and critics alike. Set in 1858, three years before the Civil War, the story centers on Django, a tough slave with an even tougher will, played by Jamie Foxx. After being able to identify a murderous gang of thieves known as The Brittle Brothers, he is enlisted by German bounty hunter and former dentist Dr King Shultz (Oscar winner Christoph Waltz)  to help seek and destroy this gang, with reward being his freedom. Through all of this Django plans his own mission of finding and rescuing his wife, Broomhilda (Scandal’s Kerry Washington). Realizing that they work well together, Schultz proposes to form a bounty hunter partnership with Django, hunting down the deadliest criminals the South offers, and in turn will help Django find his wife. Through twists and turns, various criminal hunts,  an angry white hooded mob and surprise cameos, they are led to a lavish and rich plantation, owned by the charismatic yet disturbed Calvin Candie (Golden Globe nominee Leonardo DiCaprio) , and houses the then-rising sport of Mandingo fighting. Trying to keep a clever charade up to not risk their true intentions, they manage to raise suspicion from trusted house slave Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson). When discovered, it becomes an intense blood bath in Django’s efforts to save his wife and gain his vengeance. Straight from the start this movie has you hooked, combining a stellar cast with a renowned writer & director, in a genre that was almost dead in Hollywood. Popular up until the 1970’s, the western film was a fading fad that thanks to Django Unchained, has been given another shot. And Tarantino making the movie as homage to the spaghetti westerns of the ‘60’s and ‘70’s makes…

Final Take!

Overall Rating - 9.6

9.6

Outstanding

The plot, the characters, the setting; all brilliant. And an instant classic that could have only been done by Quentin Tarantino. The man has a way of taking real situations and making them bizarre and splatter packed, but more over stays real. Because even though most the happenings in his films are so off base, you can still imagine them actually happening. He did it with Reservoir Dogs, he did it with Pulp Fiction, and he again did it with Django Unchained.

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