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Film Review: Django Unchained (2012)
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stainsteelrat
Django Unchained (2012). Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. The film is set in 1850s Texas, and starts with the Speck brothers transporting some black slaves. On their journey they encounter Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) who purports to be a German dentist, looking for a particular slave. When it transpires Schultz is a bounty hunter there's a gunfight between him and the Speck brothers, and the former dispatches the latter. He identifies the slave, Django (Jamie Foxx), and comes to an agreement with him to identify a criminal gang he's after. Django Unchained is an odd quantity, to say the least. It mixes Spaghetti Western ideals with an A-list cast, black humour, lots of gore, and the very uneasy topic of black slavery. The latter was the most difficult issue for me, and although Tarantino generally stereotypes white people as arrogant and stupid and black people as the underdogs, he quite cleverly ensures there are both good and evil on both sides of the race divide. Arguably it does highlight the issue of black slavery, even if it does go about it in an "unusual" way. There are some great performances: Christoph Waltz is the stand out in my opinion. I'm not a fan of Leonardo DiCaprio, but he works well as a slimy and unpleasant slave trader (ideal casting I'd say). Jamie Foxx is perhaps the only disappointment, as he stays somewhat understated throughout, and doesn't add a great deal to the character. Aside from the unease over the race issue, I feel that Tarantino has still created a great film. He focusses on making great characters and a consistent story, and this shines through and gives the film a lot of appeal (unlike some of the recent things I've seen). Coupled with this is a fantastic soundtrack, with both a classic and contemporary vibe. I only have two criticisms: Firstly, the silly amounts of blood, which added nothing for me and just looked daft. Secondly, as great as the film was, it felt overly long (at 165 minutes). For those who can cope with the slavery issue, the ludicrous amounts of blood, the violence, and the Spaghetti Western atmosphere, you should enjoy it. 4/5 (Excellent)
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