8.4/10
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1,567 user 839 critic

Django Unchained (2012)

Trailer
1:25 | Trailer
With the help of a German bounty hunter, a freed slave sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner.

Director:

Quentin Tarantino
Popularity
196 ( 11)
Top Rated Movies #58 | Won 2 Oscars. Another 57 wins & 156 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jamie Foxx ... Django
Christoph Waltz ... Dr. King Schultz
Leonardo DiCaprio ... Calvin Candie
Kerry Washington ... Broomhilda von Shaft
Samuel L. Jackson ... Stephen
Walton Goggins ... Billy Crash
Dennis Christopher ... Leonide Moguy
James Remar ... Butch Pooch / Ace Speck
David Steen ... Mr. Stonesipher
Dana Gourrier ... Cora
Nichole Galicia ... Sheba
Laura Cayouette ... Lara Lee Candie-Fitzwilly
Ato Essandoh ... D'Artagnan
Sammi Rotibi ... Rodney
Clay Donahue Fontenot Clay Donahue Fontenot ... Big Fred's Opponent
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Storyline

In 1858, a bounty hunter named Schultz seeks out a slave named Django and buys him because he needs him to find some men he is looking for. After finding them, Django wants to find his wife, Broomhilda, who along with him were sold separately by his former owner for trying to escape. Schultz offers to help him if he chooses to stay with him and be his partner. Eventually they learn that she was sold to a plantation in Mississippi. Knowing they can't just go in and say they want her, they come up with a plan so that the owner will welcome them into his home and they can find a way. Written by rcs0411@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

This Christmas, Django is off the chain. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Western

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong graphic violence throughout, a vicious fight, language and some nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

The title alludes to the titles of Django (1966), Hercules Unchained (1959), and Angel Unchained (1970). See more »

Goofs

Calvin Candie drinks a tropical drink through a straw. Straws were not sold commercially until 1888, although hollow reeds were used as straws before then. However, the straw in the film does not appear to be a reed. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Dicky Speck: [cocks rifle] Who's that stumblin' around in the dark? State your business or prepare to get winged!
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Crazy Credits

During the opening credits, Franco Nero's credit reads as "and with the friendly participation of Franco Nero." See more »


Soundtracks

The Braying Mule
Written and Performed by Ennio Morricone
(From Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970))
Courtesy of Universal Studios
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User Reviews

 
Brutally hilarious and quite messy, but a total blast from start to finish
23 December 2012 | by DonFishiesSee all my reviews

I only had one thought on my mind for this Christmas: see Django Unchained. Quentin Tarantino's latest opus, a Western set two years before the Civil War, concerns a former slave named Django (Jamie Foxx). He is freed by bounty hunter Dr. King Shultz (Christoph Waltz) in order to help him with a bounty. Quite quickly, Shultz takes Django under his wing and trains him as his partner. But he made him a promise: that he would rescue his wife from a plantation owned by the ruthless Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio). And rescuing her is not going to be all that easy.

What pains me the most about Django Unchained, as a die-hard Tarantino fan, is just how sloppy it all seems. I enjoyed every minute of it, but I could never shake the feeling of how messy and thrown together it all feels. Portions of the film feel episodic (the search for the Brittle Brothers, mentioned heavily in the trailers, begins and ends practically within minutes), and some scenes just seem to play out just for the fun of it. Another scene from the trailers involving a lynch mob with bags covering their faces seems added for comedic purposes, and has no real point of actually existing. More than any of his films before it, Django feels like Tarantino simply making a movie for sheer pleasure and with no outside motivations or controllers.

The film threatens to go totally off the rails at any given moment, and lacks any real sense of direction or focus. It may sound ridiculous, but the loss of editor Sally Menke confirms a sneaking suspicion I always had about Tarantino – he needed a steady right hand to help encourage him as to what was needed and what was not. I do not want to criticize Django's editor Fred Raskin, but it is obvious he is no Menke and that works against the film heavily. It lacks the polish we have come to expect, and is practically stripped of the glossy/cool texture so prevalent in Tarantino's work up until now.

But then maybe that was his intention all along, and perhaps Tarantino is airing out his frustrations with life and film in general. Django is deliberately shot on film (or at least from the print I saw), and looks very gritty and messy at all times. It is significantly more brutally violent than anything he has worked on before (the borderline cartoonish Kill Bill included), and has a very go for broke attitude about itself. The film seems to revel in how brilliantly it can splatter all the blood and gore (done through the use of squibs and no digital!), and how uncomfortably numbing it can make the violence. I know he does not care what people think of his films, but this movie especially seems like an emphatically raised middle finger to the establishment. And for all of my complaints about how messy it all feels, I was never once bored or felt like the movie was dragging itself out. The staggering 165-minute running time shockingly flies by faster than you might ever imagine.

Acting wise, Tarantino stacks the deck with a number of recognizable character actors young and old for roles that vary in size. Most have very few lines, if any at all, and seem to just stand by, just as content as the audience is to watch the action unfold. It is a little off-putting, especially with how important some of these characters are initially made out to be. Washington as Broomhilda von Shaft (one of the most subtle references he's ever dropped) does well as the helpless victim and frequent dreamlike object – but she never really gets to show off any of her acting prowess outside of her facial reactions. They are increasingly effective, especially during horrific flashback scenes. But her work here feels ridiculously stunted in comparison to the other leads. Samuel L. Jackson, much like Tarantino himself, seems to just be having fun in his role as Candie's adviser Stephen. He plays on every ridiculous stereotype he ever has been associated with and then amps it up to a near ludicrous state. He is frequently hilarious, but the role seems to border on parody more than anything else.

Surprisingly, Foxx takes a very long time settling into the leading role. It may just be the character, but it is quite clear from the on- set that he is not very comfortable in Django's shoes, and leads credence to why Will Smith, amongst so many others, dropped out of the picture so quickly. But once he finds his footing, he does a fantastic job walking the thin line between empathetic and sadistic. It is not an easy character to play, but Foxx makes it his own, bringing a sense of style and grace that are virtually absent from the rest of the film. And of course, he gets all the best lines.

Waltz and DiCaprio are the clear standouts however, nailing every nuance of their sadly underwritten characters. While Waltz plays the straight man, DiCaprio is delightfully unhinged and vicious. Both are playing directly against type, yet are strangely comfortable in the roles. Watching them act circles around the rest of the cast, Foxx included, is the true highlight of the film. I just wish they were both given additional emphasis and more to do.

For all of its numerous faults, I had a blast watching Django Unchained. It is hilarious, it is a lot of fun, and is wildly enjoyable. I genuinely think it could have been a lot better if there was more focus and direction, but this is very clearly a picture Tarantino wanted to make on his own terms. And for that, I applaud him for the effort. It is not his best work, but certainly not his worst.

8/10.


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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German | French | Italian

Release Date:

25 December 2012 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Django Unchained See more »

Filming Locations:

Jackson Hole, Wyoming, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$100,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$30,122,888, 30 December 2012

Gross USA:

$162,805,434

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$425,368,238
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Datasat | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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