Set two years before the Civil War, Dr. King Schultz purchases slave Django and teaches him the ways of a Bounty Hunter. While Django is appreciative, he truly wants to use these skills and new found freedom to reunite with his wife, Broomhilda.
This is the simplest summary I can muster at this hour. First things first: very talented cast, quintessential Tarantino vibe, cartoonish violence, and great soundtrack. These are all things I have come to expect from a Tarantino film and I certainly got them in “Django Unchained”. That said I find that there is a very fine line between a director’s “style” and a director trying to use gimmicks that worked in the past.
I have a couple examples that I promise will not spoil the movie.
1. Off topic dialogue is a trick that Tarantino has been using for years in all of his movies. The best examples of this would be the diner scene at the beginning of “Reservoir Dogs” or the conversation between Jules and Vincent about cheeseburgers in “Pulp Fiction.” It’s a screenwriting tactic to create background for the characters and padding them out without moving the story along. Normally, Tarantino is great at this and even though these conversations happen without anything to do with the plot they are extremely entertaining and thus get a pass without scrutiny.
In “Django Unchained”, there is a scene between Big Daddy “Don Johnson” and his masked marauders that felt extremely forced. What also didn’t help was one lone man in the theater that laughed at every line. It was basically a low light in a field of highlights.
2. Kung Fu influence has permeated most, if not all, of Tarantino’s films. Seeing as “Django Unchained” was being presented as a western, I wondered if he would stray from the nods to kung fu and play it like a more modern western. In the end, he did both. There were a few instances during the film in which he used a camera maneuver that has been used in kung fu movies for ages; the quick close-up zoom. This is used a few times during “Django Unchained” and 99% of the time, it was timely and otherwise appropriate. But there was one moment in the movie were this technique is used and I thought it was the projector’s fault. It just seemed so out of place and forced. It really took me out of the movie and bummed me out enough to mention it here. Perhaps it was because this is the first feature film Tarantino has made with his editor Sally Menke who died in 2010.
Beyond those two examples, I thought the movie was fantastic. Christoph Waltz once again showed me why he won an Oscar and why he deserves another. Jamie Foxx played a complete bad-ass to perfection and Leonardo DiCaprio played possibly his most despicable role yet and made me want so much more.
Also, I noticed that there was a character in the movie with a covered face that seemed like she would play a role later on but was never utilized. I wonder if her subplot was edited out. It kind of confused me a bit because she was very clearly focused on but never mentioned. Weird
**Fun Fact** During the dinner scene Leonardo DiCaprio slams his hands on the table and slices his hand open. The rest of the scene is shot while his hand bleeds everywhere. This was a real injury that DiCaprio received and used in the scene. Great performance by him and everyone else in the movie.
I highly suggest this film. *8/10 for me.
*1 = Sex and the City 2
10 = The Dark Night Rises