Django Unchained has mislaid its melancholy, and its bitter wit, and become a raucous romp. It is a tribute to the spaghetti Western, cooked al dente, then cooked a while more, and finally sauced to death.
Django Unchained is the most brutal film Quentin Tarantino has ever made.But the movie is also exciting and ironic and, at times, explosively funny: Even at his most serious, Tarantino can't help but entertain and show you a good time.
A mashup of the spaghetti Western Django and '70s blaxploitation Westerns, it offers Tarantino another chance to show off his twist on history. While it worked with Inglourious Basterds, it just comes across as contrived and excessive here.
Like the earlier movie, in which Jewish-American soldiers assassinate Hitler, this one draws heavily on minority group revenge fantasy, the only difference being that the trick isn't as impressive the second time around.
Tarantino is clearly having a grand ol' time with Django Unchained, and so are his actors, every one of whom are more than willing to share in the writer/director's filmic vision, no matter how ghastly it may be.
"Django Unchained" might have been a revelation in 2005. But after Quentin Tarantino and others have spent years spoofing '60s and '70s genre movies, this mock spaghetti Western tastes like it came out of the microwave.
Plodding through the parts that the filmmaker couldn't bare to trim down winds up being more than worthwhile, however, for the many moments of sheer moviegoing pleasure that Django Unchained provides. It's a bloody treat.
The anecdotal, odyssey-like structure of this long, talky saga could be considered indulgent, but Tarantino injects the weighty material with so many jocular, startling and unexpected touches that it's constantly stimulating.