In Your's Review of Django Unchained
Edgy, offensive material, bordering on exploitative, childish indulgence. That said, if you are a Taratino loyalist you will get your money's worth.
The characters are well written and fun to watch whether good or evil, and boy is that line blurred on occasion. It is mostly well paced, fearless and absurdly original, with a huge supporting cast and great lead performances from Waltz, Foxx, and DiCaprio. Bouts of gratuitous violence and dark humor are approached almost casually, and token Tarantino flourishes like 70's quick zooms and rap music are almost to be expected. And while nudity of the female variety is almost nowhere to be found, I counted two or three dicks. Enjoy!
The story is a familiar parody of romance revenge westerns, set in the racist south two years prior to the War of the States. I thought this narrative was the weakest of his films by far, but Tarantino has a way of distracting from the shallowness of his themes by drawing our attention to curious gestures, seemingly pointless side characters, and eyebrow-piquing dialogue. Some of these go somewhere, some of them don't. He doesn't shy away from or sugarcoat the uncomfortable, barbaric facets of slavery that were common at the time, and I respect him for that, even if the context is rather odd. The result is a climactic and surprisingly thought-provoking adventure yarn that is optimistic and defeatist at the same time, a hero's tale that finds pleasure in teasing the viewer with its unpredictable tonality moment to moment almost as much as it torments its players.
Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz), a dentist turned bounty hunter, frees a captured slave named Django (Jamie Foxx) to help him identify some slavers he is chasing. Django turns out to be such a valuable asset that King suggests they partner up for the winter, after which they will share the accumulated earnings and King will help him rescue his captured girlfriend Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) from a powerful plantation owner called Calvin Candie (Leo). Waltz plays the bounty hunter King as an educated psychopath with a heart of gold, and he was honestly my favorite part of the movie. He is a northern intellectual who despises slavery but the film never milks his character for sympathy. Django also comes to reflect pertinent wants and needs as his personality grows beyond the chains of oppression. He is a man who is naturally angry over the bondage of his brothers and sisters and who happens to have a gifted gun-hand. The scene where the two men sit around the campfire after a successful score and King tells him the kraut fairytale of the princess Broomhilda and how as a German he feels obligated to help his new friend rescue his damsel was a really nice touch.
What it comes down to is whether or not you feel like forking over ten dollars to see Tarantino doing his "autistic kid knocking over dominoes" thing again, challenging you to suspend your disbelief as he throws everything and the kitchen sink at the screen. There is a series of wild shootouts in the last part of the movie where dozens of characters are mowed down in the span of seconds. Django turns into Neo and flies out of a room backwards, body-slamming a guy and shooting two guards at the same time. Five armed men appear in a doorway and are turned to swiss cheese before they can finish exclaiming "son of a bitch". The walls are literally painted red. This was one of the goriest, most violent scenes I have probably ever seen, challenged only by the depravity of the scene that follows it. Viewer beware.
Overall this is a strange, entertaining film full of clever writing, memorable standoffs, awesome casting, and no shortage of guilty laughs. However, it dragged on a bit and I found some of the content unsettling and out of place. Quentin walks a touchy line, a special genre invented just for him that I like to refer to as "intellectual hick" that creates fanboys who might not be sure exactly what they are watching, but will blindly defend it all the same. Still, there is no shame in enjoying this movie, which raises the stakes of tonal perversion to staggering heights.