Thursday, 31 January 2013

Django Unchained - Hell Yeah!

Went to see Django Unchained last week and enjoyed it a lot. The latest movie by Quentin Tarantino is again a masterpiece of imagery and storytelling.

The outstanding points for me were the fantastic story, another great musical score, the performances by Leonardo di Caprio, Samuel Jackson and Christoph Waltz. Especially the first two seem to revel in the opportunity to play a bad guy, while Waltz makes an almost sentimental volte face from his Hans Landa role.

He´s bad and he likes it
There's many other good bits of acting. Don Johnson continues his silent comeback with hilarious redneck cameos (like in Machete). Jamie Foxx is good, but he isn´t allowed much room for manouver as the stoic avenger.

The action scenes are very good and the hyperrealism (splatter) matches the incredible story. Also, Django is less a movie about western movies than Kill Bill was a movie about classic martial arts movies and Inglorious Basterds was a movie about 1960s and 1970s war movies.

Tarantino pulls no punches on Southern slave society. The abominal treatment of blacks is in your face, with the brutal mandingo wrestling not even the worst. The white people in the movie generally have few redeeming qualities, if any. You feel like cheering when they die. And regarding the supposed controversy of the use of the n-word, why is nobody complaining about this:  "killing white people and get paid for it. What's not to like?"?

One of the weaker points, to me, was the ending, with the sale to the mining company and the unlikely escape (and terrible acting by Tarantino!). Jackson's monologue on saving Django's life doesn't come out as good as Christopher Walken's brilliant watch monologue in Pulp Fiction.

There isn't a scene to match the shocking dynamics of the opening of Inglorious Basterds, or the "Dick, dick, dick, dick, dick" discussion from Reservoir Dogs. Nor does it have the one-liners.

Maybe the parts with Di Caprio are a bit too long as compared to the rest of the story. I can see how the excellent acting could tempt Tarantino into giving it as much room as possible, but to me it unbalanced the movie. They could have taken longer to find and deal with the Brittle brothers, as far as I´m concerned.

At times Tarantino even seems pretentious, trying to link it the story to the Siegfried saga, bringing up Mahler and Beethoven and showing his knowledge of European classic culture: "by the way, Alexandre Dumas was black".

It´s a bit of a pity that this isn´t Tarantino´s first movie, because were used to the continuous references to other movies, his choreography of violence and the dialogues. We start nagging about the less delightful bits and lose perspective of the whole.

So, in all this is a great movie, with great acting but with fewer stand out moments than we´re used to with Tarantino.


  1. I'm looking forward to seeing this film.

  2. Agree with you on most, altough the acting by Foxx is in my opninion excellent because he holds true to his character even within the small boundaries. The ending is indeed something I was underwhelmed over but still.... It was a VERY VERY long time ago that I heard people shout and jeer during the movie.

    The long parts by DiCaprio I think also confirm his character (remember the dogscene were he tells him to stop playing games).

    The n word...... people that dont understand movies I suppose. It is totally in character with the period and feelings at the time.. if anyhting I would have thought that they should be more upset with all the "gear" the slaves were wearing to prevent them from having contact.

    The only part in the movie that was a total screw up was the escape from the mining company. It looked like a blooper scene they forgot to remove with editing. They could have left it out especially the acting by Tarantino which was absolutelely dreadfullly out of tune with all the GREAT acting that is seen in het movie (even the extra's are totally in tune with the whole period).

    All in all a superb movie (did you notice the text used as a comic like introduction when they moved location to mississ.... ?

    And the music !!!
    Superb (non one would even think about using a rap song in a "western" but Q did and to GREAT effect it is totally fitting with the part of the movie he uses it in.

    Great stuff


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