Sunday, 7 April 2013

Film Review: Django Unchained

About the film
Django Unchained is an American action/ western film that was released at the cinema on 18th January. The film is rated 18 due to strong language and bloody violence and it has a run time of 165 minutes.

Set in 1858, Django is a slave. After being bought by the Speck Brothers, Django and a line full of other slaves are being transported. However, Dr. King Schultz is a bounty hunter and needs Django’s help with finding a particular group of men whose true identity is only known by a few people. After freeing Django and killing the Speck Brothers, Dr. Schultz makes Django a free man and also teaches him how the bounty hunter world works, giving him a life again. Django has his own reasons for what he does though, after his wife Broomhilda was also sold as a slave and him tracking her down leads both himself and Dr. Schultz straight to ruthless plantation owner, Calvin Candie.

What I thought
Quentin Tarantino is probably my all-time favourite film writer/ director and I’ll go watch anything that has his name on it. Due to being insanely busy though, I only just managed to watch this one at the cinema just before it got taken off the screens.

In true Tarantino style, Django starts off the way you would expect it to – violent and bloody. However, mixed in with this is a fantastic beginning to the plot. We get to see some of Django’s past and the reasons why he is now a slave and chained to a load of other men. While the film does start off in an exciting way, there is a lot of time spent introducing characters and really getting to know Django and his new found friend Dr. Schultz. Being quite a long film, I can see that some people would get annoyed with the slightly drawn out lead up to the real action. I don’t see it this way though. Django and Dr. Schultz have a long journey ahead of them and plenty of people to find and kill so I liked the first half of the film very much.

Starring as Django is Jamie oxx, who in my eyes is always fantastic in every role. As a character, Django starts off as quite a scared and timid man after everything he has been through. He’s a man who has lost not only his wife but also the better life he had before. Meeting Dr. Schultz gives Django a second chance and an opportunity to make things right. In this film, Foxx has taken on a role really hard to play and one which takes a whole lot of emotion and determination to pull it off. Over the course of the film, Django becomes a much stronger and more confident character which really suits Foxx well. I thought his performance was outstanding throughout and he coped extremely well with everything he had to do in this role.

Dr. Schultz, played by Christopher Waltz gives the film most of its comedy, for the first half of the film anyway. Waltz plays a funny and likeable German man who likes to make the most of his heritage. I loved this character so much because for the most part, he was very serious about his job as a bounty hunter but he Waltz managed to pull off every single comedic line with enthusiasm and conviction. The lines were also not over done so they came across as very natural which is all down to Waltz’s acting ability.

Other cast members and characters worth a mention are Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson. DiCaprio plays plantation owner Calvin Candie, who is full of himself and very cocky. DiCaprio gets the personality of this character exactly right and to the point where he becomes quite creepy at times. This character is supposed to be the big bad guy of the film but I found him to be more than that. Candie is a complex and complicated character with much more to him than you would think at first. Then there is Samuel L. Jackson, playing Stephen. Stephen is Candie’s right hand man pretty much but also a slave. I know my sister didn’t even recognise who was playing this part until someone told her who it was – he’s that good. Stephen brings in a bit of a twist on racism in this film as he is often spitting out racist comments himself even though he is a black slave in the same boat as many others.

Speaking of racism, it has been said by some that this is the most racist film made in a long time. However, Django Unchained is a film about black slaves in the late nineteenth century so I didn’t really expect anything different. Tarantino shows racism and slavery in a way that I can’t think has been done before. If you know Tarantino’s films, you know that he always tells things like it is and isn’t scared of being a bit controversial. He doesn’t censor anything concerning slavery and instead, is extremely truthful about how things could have been. Different sides of slavery are also shown, with differences being seen between slaves in wealthy houses and those who aren’t. I loved the plot due to how true and shocking it was at times.

In regards to blood and gore, although the film starts off with plenty, it doesn’t really stay this way. I actually thought that Django Unchained was one of Tarantino’s more reserved films because I was waiting for more blood throughout. I wouldn’t say the lack is a bad thing though and it does show that Tarantino is capable of doing other things too. This is an extremely violent film though and some scenes are quite hard to stomach so be warned.

I thoroughly enjoyed Django Unchained and will definitely be buying it on DVD.  

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