Review: DJANGO UNCHAINED (2012) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Tuesday, 12 March 2013


You gotta be kidding me, right? A wanted poster with a stickman drawing?
A hugely entertaining spaghetti western epic filled with gleefully over-the-top violence and great cast, but suffers from slack editing in the middle.

After toying with WWII adventure drama successfully in 2009's INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, writer-director Quentin Tarantino is back with another winner in DJANGO UNCHAINED, which marks his first foray into spaghetti western genre.


Set during the pre-Civil War era in 1858, DJANGO UNCHAINED centers on a slave named Django (Jamie Foxx) who is set free by a former dentist-turned-fugitive hunter Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) to help him track down the Brittle brothers (M.C. Gainey, Cooper Huckabee and Doc Duhame) dead or alive. In return, Schultz grants him a freedom. Their first team effort proves to be successful, and soon they embark on an adventure where Schultz agrees to accompany Django to Mississippi plantation "Candyland" to buy back Django's wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) from a ruthless plantation owner named Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio).


Likewise, the movie is a sizzling cinematic experience you've come to expect from the playful mind of Quentin Tarantino. DJANGO UNCHAINED works well as a blood-drenched revenge thriller and a buddy comedy meshed altogether with fantastic performances from the ensemble cast.

Jamie Foxx is perfectly low-key as Django who doesn't really talks much. Christoph Waltz, who previously bagged a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his wicked performance as Col. Hans Landa in INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, hits jackpot again as Dr. King Schultz. In fact, he won his second Oscar for his charming role here. All I can said he's certainly a joy to watch for every time he appears on the screen with his witty remarks. As Calvin Candie, Leonardo DiCaprio makes an exceptionally colorful villain here and no doubt this is one of his most exciting roles he's ever tackled. Samuel L. Jackson, who appears late in the movie, is virtually unrecognizable as Stephen, a lifelong slave who works for Calvin Candie. Like Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson is as devilishly good to watch for. 


What's a Quentin Tarantino movie without a single memorable moment? In DJANGO UNCHAINED, there are plenty of them. As a writer, Tarantino (who won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay) sure knows how to play around with the N-words in such gleeful manner while the rest of the dialogues are equally sharp and witty. Then there's a very funny scene involving the Ku Klax Klan as they struggle to ride their horses and complain about seeing through the eye holes of the silly white bags over their heads. And of course, the final half-hour sets in the Candyland which started with a series of memorable verbal exchanges between Django, Schultz, Calvin and Stephen before the scene burst with over-the-top violence. The bloody shootout between Django and Calvin's henchmen is gloriously shot in stylish slow-motion ala Sam Peckinpah (with bucket of blood literally spill out of the gunshot wounds) and it certainly ranks as one of the best shootout scenes ever staged in recent memory.


Calvin Candie: Gentlemen, you had my curiosity. But now you have my attention.


At 165 minutes, this is no doubt the longest movie Quentin Tarantino has ever made. Sadly, that duration happens to be the weakest factor in DJANGO UNCHAINED. With Tarantino's frequent editor Sally Menke no longer with us after his untimely death, Fred Raskin is bold enough to fill n the vacant role. While Raskin can cut a solid action scene or a perfect comic timing throughout the movie, the same cannot be said for the narrative momentum. The middle section is especially long-winded and Raskin could do Tarantino a favor by trimming some of the unnecessary scenes to make the movie tauter.


 Does the sign in front of my lawn says "I accept another n----- in my house"?

Despite its shortcomings, DJANGO UNCHAINED remains one of the most entertaining, if not best, efforts from Quentin Tarantino.


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