Django Unchained Reviews
Posing as a dentist, the unorthodox Schultz commandeers Django on his death-march-to-market on the knowing that Django has information on the whereabouts and can personally identify his wanted dead-or-alive current targets, the murderous Brittle brothers.
In return for his cooperation, Schultz offers freedom from slavery and training for a job as the first black bounty hunter. Fixated on finding his wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), Django makes quick work of locating the Brittles earning his freedom and a tidy sum of money.
Instead of going their separate ways, Schultz offers to assist Django in finding and rescuing his wife. Refining Django's hunting skills and providing vital access to information, their search ultimately leads them to the slyly-charming and brutal Mississippi plantation owner, Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio).
Exploring the compound under false pretenses, Django and Schultz arouse the suspicion of Candie's trusted house slave, Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson). Marked and measured, they must choose between independence and solidarity, between sacrifice and survival.
Nominated for five Oscars, iconic writer/ director Quentin Tarantino's first western is an intriguing narrative about life, liberty and the pursuit of vengeance. Tarantino's trademark flair for dramatics and violence sit well in the pseudo-genre.
Waltz once again shines under Tarantino's direction, a true master in the art of line delivery, everything about him screams presence. Jamie Foxx's performance is slightly overdone and calculated almot to the point where it looks as though he is acting, rather than embodying. Jackson (as always) brings a little sparkle to his purpose written characters, adding levity but also insight. Whilst DiCaprio, whom has always had my curiosity (if not my personal taste) finally caught my attention with the perfect balance of smarmy and sneaky, enough so to make me forget it was in fact him.
A major miscalculation in performance however was Tarantino's own cameo. All most as if it was thrown in at the last moment, he attempts to match our own John Jarratt's accent in a bizarre ill-fitting mess of vocal gymnastics that is beyond laughable and detracts attention from the last 15 minutes of suspense.
The Verdict: Although a decent film from one of the most distinctive directors, I wouldn't put Django Unchained even in his top five. Personally, I think my 165 min would have been better spent revisiting cult classic Reservoir Dogs or the unique Inglorious Bastards; and I think other projects will take the Oscars on offer for the same reason.
Published: The Queanbeyan Age
Date of Publication: 08/02/2013