Django Unchained (2012) Poster

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It's not perfect but it's very good... and I'm not even a fan of Tarantino!
filipemanuelneto3 December 2020
I just saw this film and I confess that I am completely satisfied. I am not an admirer of Tarantino but I have little to say about this film, inspired by a character from the sixties western-spaghetti films and mixing western with blacksploitation. Tarantino's style (exaggerated, showy, extravagant and excessive) is all there before us, but unlike other films I didn't feel that this was a problem or transformed the film into a kind of parody.

The plot is about the search that Django, a former slave who is unexpectedly released and becomes a bounty hunter, will do for his wife, a slave who was sold and disappeared. He has the help of a German, responsible for his release. Together they discover that she is at the home of a rude slave-owner called Cotton Candy who, among other businesses, profits from death fights between slaves. So they decide to disguise themselves as experts in the field to go to his plantation and try to buy her freedom without Candy realizing what they want.

The film is very good and, despite being almost three hours long, it has no dead moments and entertains wonderfully. However, although Tarantino's exaggerations and histrionic vision were not a problem this time, there are some points that were really uncomfortable, mainly concerning historical rigor, which, we already know, is not something that he really takes seriously (another reason why I don't like him as a director). To begin with, such Mandingo Fights never existed. We are not in Ancient Rome and the slave owners, however bad they were, did not like to throw money out the window and kill for pleasure their best pieces! Tarantino went to get that silly idea from another film he liked and pasted it here. Another problem is the use of dynamite, which would only be invented a few years after the period in which the film takes place. The clothes also do not match the time or place of the action. The outfit of the Club's black maid, with that miniskirt, is particularly bad in that it sexualizes the character and imports a 21st century scent into the middle of the 19th century. I will not go on much longer, I think I proved my point. Another thing I have to say is that this is a very violent film, Tarantino style, that is, with a ton of blood for each bullet, spectacular shootings, some nudity and high doses of brutality. The dialogues are also full of racist insults and profanity, but I think that was something the film asked for, in support of its own credibility. In short, this is not a movie for anyone. With Tarantino, this is often taken for granted.

The main role was given to Jamie Foxx, and he is superb and gives the character a strength and toughness that I liked, and which contrast nicely with the polite sensitivity of Dr. Schultz, brilliantly played by Christopher Waltz. This actor had already done an extraordinary job in "Inglorious Bastards" and now he was even better, with a character that seems tailor-made for him. I was particularly impressed with the work of Leonardo Di Caprio, who rarely manages to make villains. He is an actor with a rare talent and has managed to be worthy of our contempt in this film. Another actor who shines in this film is the veteran Samuel L. Jackson, in the role of a black butler so fond of the owner that he becomes more slavish than whites. I also liked the brief cameo of honor of Franco Nero, the actor who played Django in the original films. It was an elegant and honorable way for Tarantino to bow to the actor and the work that inspired him. Much less impressive was the performance of Kerry Washington, who has little time and material to show what is worth.

Technically, it is a film full of notable aspects that require our attention and that, to a large extent, are part of the director's brand image. It is the case of cinematography and the use of strong colors and slow motion footage in action scenes, features of a strong visual style that Tarantino loves. The sets are good, and also the costumes despite the anachronisms that I have mentioned. The film has a pleasant pace, but the first half was generally better yet more restrained: it seems that Tarantino gets lost in his own style as he approaches the most violent scenes. The soundtrack is great and takes advantage of several songs by various composers. Personally, I enjoyed listening to the original song from "Django" by Luis Bacalov, and the songs composed for this film by Ennio Morricone, a name that will always be associated, in collective memory, with the great western-spaghetti of the past. It was a careful, effective and honorable selection in the way it honors the genre.
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Tarantino at his best
shawnmikedryer19 December 2020
(Jamie Fox, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, Walton Goggins, James Remar, Don Johnson, Bruce Dern & Samuel L. Jackson)

Set in the Wild West in Texas in 1858, a former dentist turned bounty hunter named Schultz stumbles upon the Speck Brothers who are in transit moving slaves they own. Schultz gets to talking with a slave named Django inquiring if he's heard of the Brittle brothers, upon affirmation of such information Schultz proceeds to purchase Django if he helps him locate and take care of the brothers than he would grant Django his freedom along with a horse and $75. Schultz then takes Django under his wing training him the ways of the bounty hunter and he becomes his deputy. After successfully tracking and taking out the Brittle Brothers and many other targets over the winter Django tells Schultz his story of how he and his wife attempted to escape their former owner and then were sold separately, and how he would like to use that reward to purchase his wife back. They discover the location of a Mississippi plantation where Broomhilda, his wife , was sold. They learn the ruthless Calvin Candie Von Shaft is the new owner and they now know that a scheme needs to be plotted to successfully purchase Broomhilda without raising suspicion that she was the target all along.

For a nearly three hour movie it certainly doesn't feel that way as the film is so action packed that it'll keep you on your toes the entire duration of the film. A beautifully produced piece of film that stacks up with every other great Tarantino film, it just fits the mold so perfectly. Well developed characters and a unique story like none other. So much originality has been missing in westerns i feel like this one fueled the next decade of great westerns that have been released. This long list of actors in this film is quite extraordinary as there was even more great actors i could have listed. The soundtrack is absolutely phenomenal and I'll admit i listen to this frequently it just fit the film perfect. The dialog was written so nicely creating some iconic scenes. Anyone who truly loves film can not get enough of this Tarantino masterpiece.
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Best Tarantino movie and you can't change my mind
postolachivalentin25 April 2021
Jango (D is silence) is just one of those movie you can watch every year and it never gets old.

It's also the origin of those Di Caprio memes you saw online, so you know is good.

Also Christoph Waltz stole the show here and made me discover all other his movies.
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Brutally hilarious and quite messy, but a total blast from start to finish
DonFishies23 December 2012
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.

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Tarantino is undefeated
nadavsaar15 November 2020
This is a movie that wouldn't work with every other director other than Tarantino. Just like all of his movies, film making top tier. Every aspect of this film is amazing
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Unmistakable Tarantino
SnoopyStyle24 August 2013
Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) is a bounty hunter. To identify his next catch, he tries to purchase Django (Jamie Foxx). Thing go all wrong Tarantino style. The two become friends and Dr Schultz decide on a plan to free Django's wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) from a notorious plantation owner Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio).

This is Quentin Tarantino all the way. His style has become as unique & original as they come. There is no mistaking it for another. It's the music, the violence, the visuals, the black humor, and the subject matter. This is all Tarantino. If there is one complain, it's the double climax. While I understand the need for a happy Hollywood ending, it would have been better to have 1 big gun fight and just finish with it. Not that big of a deal. Certainly it's still a great film.
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Great Mix Of Action And Comedy
CalRhys24 January 2013
Quentin Tarantino, one of the most iconic directors of the 21st (and late 20th) century, why? Simple. Because of masterpieces like this. Tarantino defies the laws of film, he shoots them in his own way, however he wants. Tarantino has always focused upon the action thriller genre from Reservoir Dogs up until Inglourious Basterds. However, Django Unchained is Tarantino's first look at the Western genre, his first attempt at it and he executed it beautifully. The scenes were shot perfectly alongside an amazing soundtrack as well as his own small cameo.

Django Unchained tells the story of Django (Jamie Foxx), a slave who is soon picked up by bounty hunter Dr King Shultz (Christoph Waltz). The story follows on as Shultz takes on Django as his "deputy" during their tasks of bounty hunting, in return Shultz says that after winter he will help find Django's lost wife, Broomhilda. This takes them to a huge plantation in Mississippi owned by Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), from here they plan up a scheme on how to get away with Broombilda.

The cast boast out amazing performances, particularly Christoph Waltz (also famous for his previous collaboration with Tarantino on Inglourious Bastards as Colonel Landa). Both Foxx and DiCaprio's performance are both equally amazing. All three are able to add some light-hearted humour in the mix to make sure it doesn't stay too serious, as well as having comic actor Jonah Hill play a member of the KKK.

There's a reason the film has been nominated for 5 Oscars.
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A masterpiece!
manseetswaroop16 October 2020
Django Unchained is a 2012 Hollywood movie depicting the story of a former slave turned freeman who just wants to get his wife back. He will stop at nothing to unite with his wife.

A brilliant masterpiece of a movie. The gut-wrenching way in which slavery in past-America is depicted is simply awe-inspiring. Quentin Tarantino goes all out to show the viewers what slavery was like in those days.

Every character in the movie were aptly cast and put on a splendid show. Every scene with Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz is memorable and impressionable.

All in all, this is a Tarantino movie. So, you gotta watch it. A revenge story so good that it will stir up your insides!
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Over indulgent, gross....but also terrific.
planktonrules26 January 2013
My biggest complaints about "Django Unchained" are ones that really won't matter to most people who see this film. After all, just about everyone knows that Quentin Tarantino's films are incredibly bloody, gross and self-indulgent. So, when you see a billion gallons of blood and bodies flying everywhere, you are not really surprised! This one does go a step further--there is some full-frontal male nudity and a few of the scenes were so gross and gratuitous that Tarantino has outdone himself. But still, you KNOW ahead of time that this is not a film to show your mother, Father Jenkins or your 6 year-old!! However, HOW far it goes will limit the film's appeal--you can be sure of that. Evan a large number of adults would be unable to stick with this's THAT violent.

The film is, in some ways, like an Italian western. I loved that much of the music was done by Ennio Merricone--the same guy who did music for such classic spaghetti westerns as "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" and "Once Upon a Time in the West". It was a major plus. I also liked seeing that one of the many wonderful cameos was by Franco Nero--the original Django. But, if you think that this is a modern Hollywood version of an Italian western, you are mistaken. PARTS of it are--most is not. In fact, despite the western clothing on so many of the characters (anachronistic, actually), the film is mostly set in the American South just before the Civil War. People just didn't dress that way at that time and in that place. The film is, at times, sort of like a blaxspoitation western in style as well.

What did I like about the film? Well, it was never, ever dull. The film never really gives you a chance--even though it clocks in at 2 hours and 45 minutes. Second, as I mentioned above, there were a lot of cool cameos--and some were real surprises, such as Tom Wopat and Bruce Dern! Third, although it was vile, the language was dead on--no politically corrected phraseology in this one! Nasty and blunt, that's for sure. Fourth, although it was really violent and gross, I will admit that there is something very satisfying in seeing all these racist jerks killed so violently. It appeals to the lowest instinct in us...but on a primal level is IS appealing. Finally, the acting was quite good.

What didn't I like? Well, even for a Tarantino film it was violent---very violent. Also, I definitely agree that the first hour or so of the film was MUCH better. It was better paced, less indulgent and more enjoyable. The film did become a bit of a free-for-all blood-fest near the end and the 'mandingo fighting scene' was unnecessarily nasty. Still, if you have the stomach for it, "Django Unchained" is a heck of an enjoyable film.

By the way, I did a little research and there appears to be no such thing as 'mandingo fighting'. This was made up for this film.
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Brace yourself for True Tarantino
terrellrobinson7126 December 2012
Quentin Tarantino's 8th film "Django Unchained" is one hell of a movie. A brutal, bloody, terrifying, hilarious and awe-inspiring western disguised as a buddy movie that is so great that if John Wayne and Sergio Leone were alive now, they would've approve of this movie. It's designed to shock you, polarize you, test you and maybe even surprise you. But let me clear on this: If you are not a fan of bloody violence and the running length of 165 minutes, see a shorter movie. But if you love to see what Tarantino can do with movies like this, then you're in for a treat. Set during slavery in 1858, the movie follows Django (Jamie Foxx), a slave who is found by a bounty hunter disguised as a dentist named Dr. King Schultz (The always reliable Christoph Waltz) who hires him as a bounty hunter and a free man to find the Brittle Brothers. After finding them and hunting them down at a plantation run by Big Daddy (a remarkable Don Johnson), they relax for the winter only for them to go on a mission to find and rescue Django's wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) who is owned by Calvin J. Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) a man who runs a plantation known as Candieland. He even has a renegade slave as a servant named Stephen (A nearly recognizable Samuel L. Jackson, hidden in makeup and some prosthetics), who will have a part to play in the last half of the movie. I think Quentin Tarantino has outdone himself once again. Being in the filmmaking game for 20 years now, you can't deny and even reject his style in what he is bringing to the screen (He also has a cameo in here as well). His dialogue is like reading a book that grabs you and makes you want to know what happens next. The look and scope of the film is magnificent, thanks to a brilliant Oscar-winning cinematographer Robert Richardson and the late production designer J. Michael Riva. The performances in this film are brilliant. Having won an Oscar for "Ray", Jamie Foxx continues with his breathtaking performances that wows us. Here as Django, he is certainly fearless, baring his soul (and body) playing a man who is free from slavery, but can't be free by the rules and limitations of slavery. Christoph Waltz looks like he was born to be a part of Tarantino's entourage after his Oscar-winning performance for "Inglorious Basterds". Here, once again he brings humor and vulnerability to Dr. King Schultz. Never before have I ever seen an actor go that far and doesn't go over-the-top like Leonardo DiCaprio. As Calvin Candie, DiCaprio is certainly Oscar-worthy as a man who runs a tight ship by running a place where male slaves fight to the death and female slaves are being prostitutes and he seems to be the kind of guy to like even though he is a villain and he speaks Tarantino's dialogue like a pro. When he has a scene in which he reveals three dimples from a skull that belongs to his father, he is literally terrifying. Kerry Washington is superb as Broomhilda and Samuel L. Jackson is the real scene-stealer. The supporting cast is great from Walton Goggins, Jonah Hill, Michael Bacall, Michael Parks, James Remar, Robert Carradine to a small cameo by Franco Nero. "Django Unchained" has a lot of things to say about slavery and how cruel it is. But at the same time, it provides the fact that if Tarantino rearranged history by shooting Adolf Hitler to a pulp while everything blows up at a movie theater, he can do it again by having a former slave whipping a man who used to beat him and his wife. Now, that's entertainment. This movie really is off the chain. It's not only one of the most captivating films of the year, it's one of the best films of the year. Go see it, it will be worth your time. Keep in mind though, there are characters, especially Django, Stephen, Candie and Schultz that uses the N-word numerous times in this movie. That seems relevant to the time period, don't ya think?
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I like the way you write Quentin!
Morejambo5431 December 2020
This is a fun movie! Great acting, great soundtrack, great editing and great story! The scenes in the big class! Every scene with Leonardo diCaprio was amazing! Now my problems with the movie: the main meat of the movie, the mid section, dragged on a little too long and some of the dialogue was a bit dull but it was necessary to tell the story. The opening of the movie though, was great, I was hooked instantly and the end was so chaotic and fast paced! I wasn't expecting this movie to be as hilarious as it was either, so many scenes had the timing of humour spot on and actually made me laugh out loud. The story isn't complicated or hard to follow which is good, I enjoyed being able to relax and watch the movie unfold. I like this...8/10
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Beautiful and violent
kosmasp14 July 2013
Sometimes the German equivalent of the MPAA can surprise us all. Not only did this movie get a rating (uncut), it also passed with a "16". I'm always happy, when they pass a movie uncut, so I won't complain. That doesn't mean, I'm not wondering what is going on in the heads of some of those people who decide what rating a movie gets. The movie even got some heat in America for its violence (then again it also got some heat, because of its male lead. One party decided it wasn't a good example for white people to be killed by a black guy, the other side thought it was unfair in its depiction of black people and so forth)! Saying it lead to people becoming violent(?).

Apart from those discussions, what can be said, is that Tarantino did it again. A great movie, with superb performances by everyone involved. Who'd have thought Kerry Washington would have to learn German for a role? Not me, but the inclusion of Waltz, Tarantino favorite and rightfully so, made this happen. And while Waltz almost steals the movie, it's still very much a Jamie Foxx picture.
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Highly Entertaining and Funny
claudio_carvalho20 May 2013
In 1858, in Texas, the former German dentist Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) meets the slave Django (Jamie Foxx) in a lonely road while being transported by the slavers Speck Brothers. He asks if Django knows the Brittle Brothers and with the affirmative, he buys Django for him. Then Dr. Schultz tells that he is a bounty hunter chasing John, Ellis and Roger Brittle and proposes a deal to Django: if he helps him, he would give his freedom, a horse and US$ 75.00 for him. Django accepts the deal and Dr. Schultz trains him to be his deputy. They kill the brothers in Daughtray and Django tells that he would use the money to buy the freedom of his wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), who is a slave that speaks German. Dr. Schultz proposes another deal to Django: if he teams- up with him during the winter, he would give one-third of the rewards and help him to rescue Broomhilda. Django accepts his new deal and they become friends.

After the winter, Dr. Schultz goes to Gatlinburgh and learns that Broomhilda was sold to the ruthless Calvin Candie von Shaft (Leonardo DiCaprio), who lives in the Candyland Farm, in Mississippi. Dr. Schultz plots a scheme with Django to lure Calvin and rescue Broomhilda from him. But his cruel minion Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson) is not easily fooled.

"Django Unchained" is a highly entertaining and funny movie by Quentin Tarantino. The story is a parody of the Italian spaghetti genre and works very well since the story is good and the cast is outstanding. Christoph Waltz "steals" the movie and the joke with Franco Nero is unforgettable. But I would never dare to say that "Django Unchained" is a kind of movie to be nominated to the Oscar but forgetting this absurd, it is a great movie. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Django Livre" ("Django Free")
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Tarantino Epic
mistarkus26 December 2012
By incorporating a multitude of thematic Tarantino elements Django is the best Tarantino movie SINCE Pulp Fiction. Not as good as that great movie since this one is a little more bloated and less novel, it nonetheless is Tarantino's second best movie. This was great because it used many of the best aspects of the other Tarantino films. Such as the friendship between a black and white antihero (a hit-man like in Pulp Fiction but now the male bonding is as bounty hunters), also the violence art similar to Kill Bill and the Gut Warming, heart pounding, pulpy thrill of revenge against an evil like in Inglorious Bastards. There were many other aspects of Tarantino's movie in this one.

To start off the complete unpredictability is what really draws you in. You really do not know what is going to happen next which is refreshing to those that frequently see movies. The episodic scenes have such a high degree of unpredictability that it mesmerizingly keeps us on the edge of our seats.

There were some really amazing characters created which was not wholly due to the writer/director but the great actors who infused their talent into the roles. These characters' eccentricities were so unique that you might have never seen characters like this before. A trademark oddity in how they spoke, what they said and their ultimate actions reflected without any creative barriers the moviemaker's soul. If you thought Christopher Waltzes and Jamie Foxx's character were great wait till you get to DiCaprios and Samuel L Jacksons. You really wanted to see more of these characters despite the nearly 3 hour length of this Tarantino epic. Dicaprio's character was probably the best; he was so amusing with his warped, semi-depraved, megalomaniac eccentricity. DiCaprios acting was really good here too. Samuel L Jackson can blurt out the necessary profanities with the appropriate rawness making him the perfect actor for some of Tarantino's parts.

The greatest thing is the psychological aspects to these characters and how that plays out in the scenes. There is actually a lot of psychology going on which builds multi-dimensional characters and creates scenes of intense unpredictability. There were other scenes of brilliant hilarity mocking the dark side of the old south, or genre film itself.

As the movie progressed and where it could have ended well and uniquely alas a contrived scene was thrown in to showcase Tarantino's signature brand of violence art, reminiscent of Kill Bill. This weakened the movie as a whole and made it drag however it was pure fun to witness the slow motion blood splattering and detailed depiction of body parts being shot with blood shooting out like geysers drenching the place in red.

I think I heard Tarantino is criticized for rehashing old movies or copying from other films. I guarantee whether or not that is the case you've never seen something like this before.
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Tarantino At the Top of His Game
Michael_Elliott27 December 2012
Django Unchained (2012)

**** (out of 4)

Quentin Tarantino returns to full glory in this violent homage to the various Spaghetti Westerns that he grew up watching. Former slave Django (Jamie Foxx) is bought by bounty hunter Dr. Schultz (Christoph Waltz) and in exchange for his help in tracking down three wanted brothers, Schultz promises to give him his freedom. Things then change when Django decides to go find his wife (Kerry Washington) who is being held by the notorious Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio).

I was one of the few who didn't care too much about Tarantino's previous film but DJANGO UNCHAINED has him returning to full glory. This film is funny, intense, violent, at times shocking but most important is that it's flat-out great entertainment from start to finish. If one is easily offended then there's a lot here to get upset about but it seems people often forget that Tarantino makes exploitation movies, which means he takes a serious subject and exploits it for entertainment. All sorts of violent sub-genres came up during the 70s glory days of exploitation and I think mixing the Spaghetti Western with a slave story works on many levels. The biggest being that the film manages to shock you but you also hate what's going on so much that you can't help but get behind Django and his cause. Foxx really did a remarkable job here and perfectly captured those gunslingers who said very little but did their talking with a gun. Waltz and his comic timing are downright terrific and he really adds a perfect balance to what Foxx does. DiCaprio is also excellent in the role of the sadistic Southern gentleman and I'm sure Oscar-time will be friendly. Don Johnson also does a great job with his small but flashy role and the debate on the masks is a brilliant example of comedy.

The film really does a remarkable job at being a Tarantino film. Meaning that everything a fan has come to expect from one of his movies is on full display and perfectly executed. The music score is fabulous, the cinematography highly impressive and the costumes and settings really make you feel as if you're in the actual period that the film is set. DJANGO UNCHAINED isn't going to be for everyone but then again, what exploitation film is? The film is very dark, very bloody but oh so funny. It works on all levels including a terrific adventure picture with a bloody good revenge tale.
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Behind The Violence
billygoat107116 March 2013
Django Unchained is a Western film that is thematically about revenge against slavery and racism. The film clearly understands how terrible this condition is, thus it gets interesting to that point. Since this is a Quentin Tarantino film, he never abandons his own style. Just like any of his films, it is brilliant in craft, gives a set of memorable characters charmed by the performances, and a high entertainment quality. The journey is quite enjoyable, though towards the end it disappointingly creates a misstep but it's all good anyway. Django Unchained hasn't beat Tarantino's best but it still can be memorable and undeniably enthralling.

Any movie fan, especially of course Quentin Tarantino's fans, would definitely love the experience. The most obvious reason is his pure cinematic style. There's violence, great characters, and classic filmmaking. It's easy enough to get satisfied by those. The storytelling is pretty much of a Western story can be. The film takes a serious theme that keeps the plot intriguing. It sets an uneasy context and displays the violence of those times. At the point when Schultz first reacts at Django's whip marks and the depiction of that cruel history, there's a sense that the film might go extraordinary than just another cinematic pleasure. Disappointingly, the final act suddenly transforms the whole movie into an insane sweet revenge story. It seems like it's suppose to be a fan service or it's trying to be faithful to the Western genre, but it's random from all that was set up on the first two acts. It's not bad. It's just random. Again, it's still enjoyable but it could have been better and much compelling.

The performances are as fun as a Tarantino film could ask. Jamie Foxx convincingly shows the personality, swagger, and the pathos inside of Django which is great enough to the character. Christoph Waltz once again steals the show. Mostly because his character gets to do more things than Django. Waltz is just being Waltz but his performance still shines as he brings charm to the character. Leonardo DiCaprio stands out, not only because it's an unusual performance from him but he also manages to hide the unknown sinister behind the villain's awkward charisma.

The filmmaking is, without a doubt, stunning. The direction shows off many styles and impressive shots. The script is witty and makes the entire film entertaining. Even from the very first sequence, you already get the sense of fascination on what's happening. The production design is classy enough to make things look good. The cinematography is indeed perfect for a Western film, and the music score fits to every scene. Everyone will definitely find the action exciting even if the bloody violence may look too splashy.

Django Unchained is a spectacular cinema despite of its mistakes. At least it never avoids portraying the ugliness of the setting. The dazzling styles can't even gloss that over. There is still something missing in the end which is sort of difficult to forget, but all the strange fun, humor, and intrigue will always grip you throughout the experience. The filmmaking and the performances are already remarkable to be fascinated. It's a near masterpiece. If only it was less ridiculous and less forced at the third act. Though, this flaw isn't really that bad. In fact, it's probably one of the best looking flaws you'll see. No one could make a flaw this good like Tarantino. Overall, it has plenty of memorably great moments and achievements that indicates that the film is still amazing.
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Drag On, Django!
jadepietro27 December 2012
This film is not recommended.

The D is silent in Quentino Tarantino's blood-soaked film, Django Unchained, and so will you be, sitting there in the movie theater watching endless scenes of carnage and slaughter that co-mingles with the blaxploitation genre in this revisionist Western tale of revenge.  At the core of all this bloodshed and violence are the historic issues of slavery and racism, but Tarantino uses a spaghetti western format to hone in on his underlying message. Racial stereotypes, offensive white characters, and ethnic slurs abound. But so does action and dark humor, minus the wit, in this brutal parody of the Old West.

Django Unchained is essentially a tale of vengeance and black empowerment, told by the talented Tarantino. But with all his Black Like Me posturing,  the director takes over the role of the angry white man speaking for the entire African-American race. It all seems a bit ludicrous and egotistical to lessen the horror of racism as a vehicle for pop entertainment. That said, Django Unchained is an extremely well-made film worthy of the attention from the more seriously-minded faction of adult film-goers, but its outlandish plot and excessive treatment of violence kept the movie too absurd for me to truly appreciate. ( I may come off as self-righteous but I do tend to over-react and worry when the abhorrent subject of slavery parades itself as pop entertainment for a younger generation, muddying the historical content to become a pale substitute for their only possible history lesson on that issue.  Fiction can so willingly become fact these days. I also question the R-rating slapped onto this blood-fest when a NC-17 rating is more befitting, with all the endless shootings, stabbings, and bludgeoning going on under the guise of vigilante justice in this film. )

After an hour's worth of slow-moving episodic detours and sub-plots involving repetitive shoot-em-ups, the film finally settles down to its main storyline, which is at least compelling:  A slave, Django ( Jamie Foxx ), searches for his wife, Broomhilda ( Kerry Washington ) who is now the property of an wealthy plantation owner, Calvin Candies ( Leonardo DiCaprio ). On his journey for salvation, Django befriends a bounty hunter, Dr. King Schultz ( Christoph Waltz ), and both continue on their rescue mission to Candyland ( the plantation's ironic name ).

Now Tarantino has used this same set-up before in his previous films, a series of misadventures until the final climactic shoot-out takes place. It's his calling card. His solid filmmaking techniques and edgy style stays evident throughout his lengthy film. So does his gift for well-written conversations and flamboyant characters.  But his screenplay needs more reworking to streamlining his film's potent message and there is in dire need of eliminating unnecessary complications within its plot structure.

Beside his ever-present trademark non-stop gratuitous violence, Tarantino's anachronistic blending of pop, hip-hop and rap songs, along with modern sounding jargon, sharply contrasts the visual images on display with mixed results. He overdoes the pop culture references this time around. The excessive use of the N-word ( estimated usage: nearly 100 times, without exaggeration ) seems to be here more for its shock value purposes that authenticity and richness in dialog.

Where the director / writer achieves success is in his wisely assembled ensemble of actors for their overly ripe roles.  Waltz brings to his role a commanding presence and larger-than-life bravado. Washington creates a gripping portrait of a woman caught in a desperate struggle for freedom.  Also on hand in a small supporting role is a Tarantino favorite, Samuel L. Jackson, giving another ballsy performance as a morally corrupt man servant.  However, it is the film's evil villain that makes Django Unchained break free of its caricatural qualities. As Calvin Candies ( a.k.a. Simon LaGree channeling Snidely Whiplash ), DiCaprio is a guilty pleasure. The actor puts his underused comic talents to good service and astutely navigates a difficult role to great acclaim, creating such an indelible reprehensible scoundrel.  Yet, what throws the film slightly off-balance is Foxx in the title role.  The actor looks the part, but, strangely, seems too reserved and solemn for this empowered hero. Foxx does little to circumvent the subtle demands of this complex character.  He becomes a stock character, The Man with No Game.

The film rambles on, with too many side stories that do little to advance the action. More judicious editing is needed which would also help pick up the film's lackadaisical pacing. As the case with most Tarantino films, scenes go on far too long to build tension that has already been established.  Humor seems sparse or sophomoric as set pieces drone on with no real purpose.

Django Unchained is a live-action cartoon with an adult perceptiveness. Tarantino's films always have a divisive effect and this latest venture is no different. His re-boot of the Western for today's movie-going audiences will thrill only his die-hard fans and alienate others. Yes, dear moviegoers, there is plenty of red for your hard-earned green this holiday season, and its name is Django Unchained.  And, yes, while the D may remain silent, it can also stands for disappointing as well. GRADE: C+

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NOTE: Be forewarned, moviegoers: This film is one of the most violent film in recent memory. Lately, with all of the senseless murders and on-going anarchy happening in America, this film could easily become the poster child for the N.R.A. and its recent stance against gun control and Hollywood filmmakers in general.  Tarantino may not want his film to be seen in this light, but this film ( and many of his other movies ) could become a painted target for the Conservative Right mentality and close-minded gun enthusiasts with which to take aim.
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Works really well despite so much of it seeming to be at odds with itself
bob the moo26 January 2013
Beyond the name and a cameo by Franco Nero, the story here has nothing in common with the original film series being referenced, although the genre and the design do of course have a lot of common ground. The story here sees a German dentist-turned-bounty-hunter freeing a slave who can identify three men who have a considerable bounty on their heads. Despite being an one-time deal, the partnership works so well that the two stay together for more work, although the slave (Django) only has one overall goal – to find his wife and buy her freedom.

The film opens with all the tropes that tell you that this will be an exploitation-style western; the music is of its time, the credits are blood red in that wonderfully gaudy manner and the camera movement is knowing but effective, and indeed this is what we get from the film as a whole – a bloody exploitation western that refers the grindhouse films that Tarantino idolizes so much. However to suggest that this is all the film does is to somehow miss the fact that it does so much more. Despite being trashy in some regards, it is brutally unsettling in others – some scenes of cruelty to slaves are very hard to stomach. On top of this we have the usual dialogue scenes that Tarantino is very good at – just like Inglorious Bastards had some incredibly tense scenes of just talking, Django has many great dialogue scenes – some are conversations with a bubbling tension, others are monologues delivered to camera in such a way that you are gripped by what the character is saying. Then we have the other thing Tarantino – sudden bloody violence, and it is very bloody here – excessive, OTT and very well executed. And just in case this mix isn't convoluted enough, the film also takes the time to have plenty to laugh at whether it is the flamboyantly written characters or the comedy set-pieces which include a clan raid having wardrobe issues. It really shouldn't work – I have seen other films trying to do several things in the same film and not make it work but yet here it does, and remarkably so.

Credit to Tarantino because he really doesn't put a foot wrong here (aside from casting himself when he can't act). He delivers a great exploitation film that, much like Inglorious, allows the audience this bloody fantasy retribution with the underdog hero, but also has scenes of genuine tension, scenes of great dialogue and others of genuine hilarity – and most importantly none of them seem out of place. The length of the film put me off a bit because the cinema releases ahead of awards ceremonies all seem to run long as if that counts in their favor – but in the case of Django the time really flew. It helps that it is really well filmed too; the camera movement is powerful, the shot selection good and With such material to work the cast all give great performances – again despite so many of them having different aspects to deliver on. Waltz is a great presence, as he was in Inglorious – he fits the dialogue really well and captivates with his colorful character. Surprising to me was how much I liked Foxx – he downplayed when he needed to but yet was also able to step up into the exploitation hero when required. Di Caprio captures real smiling menace and again I was surprised by how well he did it. Samuel L Jackson isn't in the film till the final hour or so, but when he arrives he joins a very crowded screen of people all commanding attention – but his house slave is brilliantly loathsome and convinces as a man so long surviving that he has forgotten this is what he is doing. Washington has less time but she sells the emotional part of the film by being so convincingly brutalized. The supporting cast is almost too heavy in famous faces, but mostly they do not distract but rather add with their various turns.

I was taken by surprised by how much I enjoyed this film and how the time flew. It mixes so much together that should clash and damage itself, but yet it all works really well (even the mixing of genre music and modern hip-hop!). I'm not always a fan of Tarantino's grind house and exploitation referencing, but here it works really well across the board.
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Amazing formally, and with a moral complexity that will work on you from within
secondtake13 January 2013
Django Unchained (2012)

(A second take at the bottom after seeing it again six months later.)

What a wild, imaginative, provocative, beautiful, disturbing, excessive, nuanced movie.

Is it a masterpiece? Maybe. Or yes, absolutely, as long as you can stomach some of the bloody mayhem. In terms of the core qualities of any "great" movie there is no argument here. The story is well told, filled with turns, believable in a fictional way, and entertaining. The acting is superb (or at times incredible). The photography and lighting and editing--the visual basics--are all excellent. The sound and soundtrack (including odd and wonderfully varied anachronistic popular songs) take you by surprise with their validity.

The movie is overtly original in that Quentin Tarantino way that is firmly rooted in classic movie-making. It refers to older styles openly, including the ridiculously bold red lettering of the opening credits which are a little like the orange-red lettering of the first widescreen color movies in the mid 1950s. The music at times invokes spaghetti westerns, and the broad landscapes echo that (and in fact the cowboy theme takes us very close to these 1960s movies which Tarantino so loves).

So, yes, this is a great movie in all these ways.

Can you address the content more directly here? Is this movie about morality, about slavery and justice, about love and walking through fires to achieve it? Yes, of course it is all these things. But, many ask, does it tell the right story about these things? The first answer is, who cares? The director can say what he likes, right? Well, maybe maybe not. He can, of course, but he has to face the music of his critics because in fact movies are not just about cameras and storytelling conventions. They take on meaning, they move people to think, they cause palpable reactions.

And so I'll come to the defense of the movie in the simplest ways. First of all, the ambiguity of the main character, the white bounty hunter played by Christoph Walz, is balanced and provocative and without real judgement. He's a cold blooded killer on the path of righteous judgement, a kind of John Brown revolutionary with a hankering for wealth, which he never gets to spend. Likewise the other lead, the black slave played by Jamie Foxx, is both victim and filled with bloody vengeance. It isn't automatically easy to justify everything, but it makes sense on some level, too.

I realized when it was all done that the movie pulls off something I hadn't quite seen before--the real horrors of slavery. I think Tarantino "gets away" with it because his style is so exaggerated and unreal. The hyper-fable approach makes it possible to be comic and horrifying. If a movie just went ahead with a straight on with torture and brutality to show how bad slavery was, almost like a documentary, it would be unbearable, almost unforgivable. But here we see the worst kind of injustices as part of an approach that at other times forces you out of total verisimilitude, and you cringe and hate it but you go with the flow.

Don't mistake things. This is one bloody cruel movie. To make people blow up with more guts and blood than usual so that it's like a comic book death does not make it less bloody. Blood will soak some scenes like graffiti art. And sound effects are used with amazing clarity to emphasize aspects like people's guts flying through the air--or, in a totally opposite way, to hear the searing sound of the ash on a cigarette as someone takes a puff. It's that kind of up and down, deeply thoughtful movie.

See it? Of course, if you can stand a little over-the-top violence. It's morally sound, it's exciting and funny and fun and moving. It's beautiful. It's comparable in many ways, formally and in terms of content, to "Inglourious Basterds." If you liked that, you'll like this. I thought it amazing through and through. Masterpiece? Why not?

Second take: I had a slightly less overwhelming impression this time. It's still a masterpiece of filmmaking, for sure, but some of Tarantino's decisions--what kind of bloody excess, how much to say derogatory words, how to push and pull the plot--seemed slightly contrived. As if his style was forced on the movie, rather than used to further something within the movie. I also watched Inglourious Basterds again recently, and found I still am perfectly amazed by that movie. For now, it's the better of the two (and they have a lot in common structurally, and thematically). Anyway, the rest of what I felt goes. Especially the necessary revulsion. Necessary. A terrific movie.
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Absolutely love this movie.
theoledoux15 January 2021
Probably the best Tarantino film in my opinion. But let's be fair, it's really close. Regardless, Django represents everything I appreciate about this director. Drama, comedy, amazing dialogue, extreme violence, etc. I named my dog after this masterpiece, so remember the D is silent!
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DJANGO UNCHAINED (Quentin Tarantino, 2012) ***
Bunuel197612 January 2013
In hindsight, given how extensively he had been "inspired" (read copiously pilfered) from it in his previous 7 films, it seems somewhat surprising to me how it took Quentin Tarantino 20 years to make his own pastiche-cum-tribute to the Spaghetti Western. Rather than the taciturn Leone/Eastwood hero "The Man With No Name", he picks the sub-genre's second best-known icon to do so – which is just as well since he subverts him into a caustic smart-ass of a colored slave, thus enabling Tarantino to hit two birds with one stone and equally pay would-be homage to such infamous exploitation fare as GOODBYE UNCLE TOM (1971) and MANDINGO (1975).

Where it does ape Leone's celebrated Western quintet is in the sheer time it takes to tell its simple tale of revenge (165 minutes as of this sitting) but there have already been rumors circulating that a lot of footage was left on the cutting room floor after The Weinsteins vetoed Tarantino's desire to release the film in two parts! As if wishing to stress the fact that his version of the critically much-maligned (if clearly beloved of film buffs) sub-genre is superior to and artistically more valid than its antecedents, he takes great pains to point out that his is a "Southern" (set in America's Deep South, y'see) and not just a mere Western. Such earnestness to be taken seriously would have carried far more weight if we were not subjected to so much cartoonish violence (with the fakest use of blood squibs imaginable) throughout the entire film!

Carrying on from his previous movies, however, we find a typically excellent ensemble cast at work here with Christoph Waltz, Leonardo Di Caprio and especially Samuel L. Jackson and Don Johnson (seriously) shining the brightest. Just like any number of the film's blood-soaked corpses, it is also riddled with knowing cameos, from Franco Nero to Bruce Dern – most of whom, buried as they are under whiskers and the ravages of time, went by unnoticed (Robert Carradine, Lee Horsley, Ted Neeley, Michael Parks, Don Stroud, Russ Tamblyn and Tom Wopat); unfortunately, the egocentric film-maker does not even spare us from a bloated, middle-aged appearance of himself as a mining company employee sporting arguably the worst Aussie accent on record!

The central couple of Django and Broomhilde Von Shaft (yeah, the ancestor of Detective John Shaft, dig it?) are competently enough played by Jamie Foxx and Kerry Washington but it is very evident (particularly in the film's tastelessly upbeat final scenes) that Tarantino had Will Smith in mind when he wrote the screenplay; besides, the clearly Homeric (or rather Sigfriedian, given her Germanic name) overtones intended for Django's long-winded quest would have been far more relevant had Washington been made to be Mississippi landowner Di Caprio's mistress rather than just a kitchen maid!! Their past lives, then, are intermittently displayed via a series of rather pointless and gratuitously flashy flashbacks.

Frankly, however, (whatever our personal feelings towards the man himself might be) we do not keep on going to watch Tarantino's films for their pointed character studies but to see how they fare in the "coolly quotable dialogue" and "clevery obscure in-jokes" departments: even though there are predictably reams of dialogue here, on a first viewing only a handful register as memorable at all (chiefly among them the brief exchange between Foxx and Nero on the spelling of the "Django" name; another one between Di Caprio and Jackson regarding Washington's German heritage; and the animated rendition of Jackson's colorful insults usually hurled towards Foxx; Waltz's ludicrous conclusion that "Alexandre Dumas was black" is best forgotten, however). Telllingly, the film's highlight is not an action set-piece but a subdued confrontation between Di Caprio and Foxx on their way to the latter's lavish abode Candyland. What is worse is that the film is oddly repetitive in both dialogue (some words keep cropping up…and not just the dreaded "N" word) and action (Di Caprio gets his comeuppance exactly in the same way as a sheriff did earlier in the movie!); Jackson's explosive end, then, seems like an impersonal one given how despicable he had been toward Django, his wife and their own race!!

Finally, the film is marked by some significant changes in Tarantino's personnel, namely producer Lawrence Bender and his late editor Sally Menke; it is a shame, however, that he did not also dispense with the services of The RZA (courtesy of some ill-judged rap rants) on the soundtrack – which, includes the title track of the obscure 1971 Spaghetti Western HIS NAME WAS KING (used here as the theme tune of Waltz's character) and a rather blah new song composed by Ennio Morricone himself! For the record, DJANGO UNCHAINED has been named Best Film Of The Year by The American Film Institute, is up for 5 Golden Globes (but the winners will only be announced in tomorrow's ceremony) and has just been nominated for another 5 Academy awards (but, surprisingly enough, both Tarantino and Di Caprio have been snubbed)!
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Freedom and Choices and Tarantino
salbelmondo-570-5128671 January 2013
In Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained, there is a scene in which Django (Jamie Fox), soon after being freed by the incredibly likable dentist turned bounty hunter, Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz), shops for new clothes to wear.

Schultz tells Django to pick out whatever he likes. Django looks at the smiling white man in disbelief. You're gonna let me pick out my own clothes? Django can't believe it. The following shot delivered one of the biggest laughs from the audience I watched the film with. After the white man confirms that yes, he is indeed letting the black man pick out his own clothes, we cut to a wide shot of Django riding his horse, now decked out in his very own (outlandish) cowboy outfit—an all blue with white ruffle get-up.

It's a great little scene that provides humor and allows the viewer to further warm up to the two main protagonists. But it also does more than that. It's a simple scene that speaks for the whole film. It's an affirmation that this man of color is now free and able to make his own decisions. The choice he made concerning his extravagantly loud outfit acts as a warning to those that plan to stand in his way—watch out, here I come, I ain't gonna be quiet no more.

And the humor the scene provides echoes the entire film—it wants us to get comfortable with our hero. Tarantino knows that a man of color makes an unconventional hero in a revenge- flick—that's why he made the film. When was the black man going to get his revenge film? It's been long overdue. With Django Unchained, that film has finally arrived and it has arrived in style. Beautifully shot, wonderfully acted, and meticulously written, it's Tarantino at his most epic.
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Holy Sh*t!
hugo_gamboa25 December 2012
I rarely bother to give reviews after watching a movie. But holy crap this was a good movie. I'm pretty sure it is the best movie i've seen all year. and yes i saw dark knight rises, avengers, flight, Argo, hobbit, etc... Tarantino delivers and then some.. Every actor is on point. Awesome performances, great story, it will definitely take you on a ride full of surprises. I would recommend everyone to go watch this film, it is truly a great film.. unless you're a little kid.. don't go watch this movie if you're a little kid. I've seen all of Tarantinos movies and I have to say this has been my favorite. It is just awesome in every way. I'm usually very harsh on movies. I mean ill watch just about anything, but for me to think a movie was actually "good", takes a whole lot. DiCaprio was like i've never seen him before, and being one of my favorite actors, it was a little weird at first. But he does an outstanding job at selling his role within seconds of his first appearance. Waltz delivered as i knew he would. and Jaime Foxx, well he did not fall behind. Last but not least Jackson was hilarious and also did an amazing job... Go watch the movie, it is worth it.
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A bloody masterpiece. Funny, Thrilling, cleverly structured ( A+ Movie) My Ratings 10/10
Muhammad_Rafeeq2 February 2020
This is my favourite Tarantino film. For me this is a masterpiece. It's one of my favourite movies of all time. This is bold, brutal, bloody, entertaining, stand out performances from Jamie Foxx as Django, Christoph Waltz again is brilliant, but the best performance has to go to Leonardo DiCaprio as the nasty and evil Calvin Candie, which has one of the best performances in a scene which I've seen in film. This film isn't for everyone, with the subject, runtime etc... but i just love every second of this film.
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Who's that stumblin' around in the dark? State your business or prepare to get winged!
one9eighty12 February 2021
Tarantino's first western film sees him return with a lot of the usual Hallmarks that are associated with him as an auteur. This film is heavy on violence with lots of gunplay and fighting, and it is filled with plenty of dialogue which drives the story as much as the action. Like some of his other films there is also a theme of vengeance running through it, something that was explored a little in "Inglourious Basterds" by Shosanna and the American-Jewish commandos; in "Death Proof" by the surviving women; sort of in "Jackie Brown", "Pulp Fiction" and "Reservoir Dogs" too. This time out though, the main vengeance is between a freed slave and slavers in the 1850's wild west.

Christoph Waltz plays Dentist/Bounty Hunter Dr King Schultz, who frees a slave called Django (Jamie Foxx), who will help him find some outlaws he has been tracking for a bounty. Django has his own plans though and wants vengeance against the racial injustices that are rife, and primarily to find his wife Broomhilda von Shaft. They learn that she is being held as a slave at the Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) "Candyland" plantation in Mississippi. On route to Mississippi, Django learns all about bounty hunting from working with Schultz and they develop a mutual respect for one and other.

Although Jamie Foxx was not the first name out of the hat when Tarantino went into casting, he delivers a great performance as Django. As his story arc develops, he gives the role some excellent character and strength which I liked, which contrasted nicely with Waltz's more polite and sensitive character. Django and Schultz have a good chemistry that works well in tandem, one being gritty and raw, and the other being quieter and more reserved. One being about action now, and the other being more of a planner. Both manage to learn from each other as the story progresses and, in a sense, this becomes a bit of a buddy road trip (on horseback) film. In Tarantino's last film "Inglourious Basterds" I felt that Waltz's performance was one of the standouts, and this film he continues that level of acting once more. I do not prefer one of the roles over the other, they are both equally on par here.

The pantomime villain of the film is DiCaprio's Calvin Candie. On the surface a well-mannered southern gentleman, despite obviously being a slaver and dictator in his own kingdom. This performance caught me off guard slightly and the usual lovable DiCaprio was able to turn on the offensive as easy as turning on a light switch. One minute he was being presented as calm and jovial, the next minute displaying a mean as hell psychopath willing to risk everything. Tarantino had wanted to work with DiCaprio for a while, even try to get him for a role in "Inglourious Basterds", so in "Django Unchained" he finally got his man.

I must mention Samuel L. Jackson's performance in this, he was incredible. He made my skin crawl and was a genuinely haunting character. He felt as much a bad guy as Calvin Candie was. In learning to survive and the way he adapted to do so for a better lifestyle he become corrupted. This corruption was not just the way he was and acted, but also the way he looked, his mannerism, everything about the performance gave me shudders.

Dealing with a film that looks at a dark time in humanities history is always going to invoke ill feelings and this certainly does that. Tarantino's film here is of course highly stylized and not entirely historically accurate in certain parts, but the main topic of slavery is something that cannot be denied. While "Mandingo" fights might not be accurate, or the wardrobe being display is not always correct for its time, the atrocity of slavery did of course exist and was mainstream in certain parts of America. While Tarantino handles this topic, and the linguistics unabashedly, certain audiences and critics did not respond well to it. While some audiences and critics have said it is offensive to them and handles racial issues terribly, equally the film has received praise from some quarters for the way it authentically handled these things. In this sense, the film does and will divide perceptions and will not make everybody happy or comfortable. In his own justification, Tarantino wanted to do a film which featured the history that America is ashamed to deal with, and which other countries directors feel they do not have a right to deal with.

This highly stylized western film is tribute to Spaghetti Westerns of the 1960's and 1970's, three of which Tarantino openly admitted he paid homage to in making "Django Unchained". Sergio Corbucci's 1966 "Django" and his 1968 "The Great Silence", and Richard Fleischer's 1975 "Mandingo. The "Unchained" part of the title may pay tribute to the likes of Corbucci's 1966 "Hercules Unchained", or Lee Madden's 1970's "Angel Unchained" which is a revenge film against rednecks. Lots of doffs of the cap to Corbucci but then when Tarantino wrote this film he had just finished a book on Corbucci overlap isn't all that surprising. Furthermore, Corbucci makes a cameo in the film too, which further shows Tarantino's admiration for the Italian filmmaker.

I enjoyed this film more than I though I was going to. After "Inglourious Basterds" I expected another visually strong film, but one which was a bit messy and unintelligent. In this I got an exciting film that despite its nearly 3-hour runtime it did not feel like it dragged and still offered plenty of twists and turns. It might not have handled certain racial elements well, and I cannot think it did anything for gender politics either the way that women appear only as damsels in distress. But none the less it offered good writing with lots of strong dialogue. The onscreen bromance between Foxx and Waltz was endearing and fun, and DiCaprio's character gave me a somebody to "boo" and "hiss" at. Add to the writing and the performances some lovely cinematography and well-choreographed scenes, and this film does feel like a modern spaghetti western that is full of grit and style. 8 out of 10.
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