Movie Review: “Django Unchained” – Saddle Up for Revenge

Written by Leo Panasyuk December 28, 2012

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It is no question that Quentin Tarantino is a cinematic artist and visionary, and because of his films, his name has become a household staple. Tarantino’s style of blending genres has always intrigued audiences and his ‘aesthetic of violence’ never ceases to show us that as brutal as it may be, violence has a hidden soft, beautiful side. With “Django Unchained”, Tarantino takes you on a two-and-a-half hour adventure filled with pain, loyalty, vengeance, and blood. Lots and lots of blood.

“Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Vengeance”

“Django Unchained” tells the story of a slave named Django (Jamie Foxx) who is freed from captivity by Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz), a German dentist turned bounty hunter who uses his former profession as a cover. Schultz offers Django a chance to rescue his captive wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) from her charming yet brutal Francophile owner Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio). Together, the two embark on a journey to rescue Django’s wife and as the film progresses, Django becomes less of a slave and more of a resolute killer as bounty hunting seems to be his strong suit.

These two clearly aren't the "Brokeback" type.

These two clearly aren’t the “Brokeback” type.

“In my world, you gotta get dirty. So that’s what I’m doing”

Let me say this first – this film is certainly not for the squeamish nor the faint of heart. The violence in this film, much like any other Tarantino film, is unflinchingly brutal. Tarantino takes no measures to tone it down or censor it in any way and the level of violence fits into the film like a gun in a holster. The film is, after all, about a former slave taking revenge on those who wronged him and this evokes the feeling of ‘what goes around comes around’ to a tee. Waltz and DiCaprio’s performances are especially noteworthy, and I can see a Best Supporting Actor nomination for Waltz. Having said that, I had a much harder time admiring Foxx’s role because he just felt like an African-American Clint Eastwood with nothing new to deliver, but to see his character develop from a lowly slave to a fierce killer sure made up for it in the end.

DiCaprio sure... hammered out a great performance.

DiCaprio sure hammered out a great performance.

“You had my curiosity… now you have my attention”

A recurring motif throughout the film is that of tainted beauty and many instances of imagery within the film (such as the blood-spattered cotton as seen in the trailer above) help reinforce this motif. The script as well as the dialogue drip with humour, wit, and every line is just as good (if not better) than the last. The music in this film works extremely well with legendary composer Ennio Morricone’s signature western style. Also, the addition of contemporary artists, such as John Legend and Rick Ross, give it a more modern hip-hop feel.

“Django Unchained” is one of those films that many will talk about for quite some time. It has already sparked controversy for its use of the ‘n-word’ and its portrayal of slavery in America. And while some may be drawn away from the gratuitous violence the film displays, it is still – in my eyes – one of Tarantino’s best films by far and one of the year’s best at that. I absolutely cannot wait to see what he cooks up next.

Rating: 8.5/10

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About Leo Panasyuk

A fan of all things film, Leo never really lets himself get tied down to one specific genre. He's always interested in watching new and old films and especially loves the IMAX format. When he's not choosing which movie to watch next, he's studying Film and English at Western University.

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