3/11/13

DJANGO UNCHAINED - REVIEW


Remember when the harshest subject Quentin Tarantino ever tackled was ear-slicing?

Well, that time is long gone and after scalping nazis in (pretend) WWII flick Inglourious Basterds, QT now takes on slavery!

And you know what?

The glourious basterd has done it again.

Django Unchained takes the 70's spaghetti western, the blaxploitation genre, adds that fresh Basterds-style raw brutality, QT's trademark razor-sharp, dark-as-night sense of humour to make a thrilling and unique Southern (as opposed to a Western) full of everything you'd expect from a rough-edged QT effort. This time, however, it isn't a revenge mission we're undertaking or even the mindless extermination of bad guys but rather a rescue with some bounty hunting along the way. Which is not to say Django Unchained plays it safe or isn't violent, FAR from it, it just means that at its core, the film is something of a fairy tale with the love story driving the plot fighting to survive among what is an unfriendly setting to say the least.

Christoph Waltz plays a playful German bounty hunter who passes himself off as a wandering dentist (big toothed-caravan and all) and one day decides to release a slave called Django (Jamie Foxx), hiring him as his partner in crime (or... justice, rather) to get rid of a bunch of scumbags he happens to know. Along the way the quest becomes more about finding Django's lost love who was bought by loathsome slave-owner Calvin Candie (an impressively odious Leonardo Di Caprio) and rescue her. Waltz accompanies him on this new quest and both are having to pretend to be interested in buying a slave fighter in order to find their way into Candie's mansion and snatch Kerry Washington's Broomhilda from a life of servitude. Of course, this being a Tarantino film, things don't go exactly according to plan.

Once again the director assembles a terrific cast featuring surprising performances from the likes of Samuel L. Jackson (genius), Di Caprio (spot-on) along with yet another brilliant turn from Waltz and a cool, strong performance courtesy of Foxx. Look out for Jonah Hill also in a fun cameo appearance.

Yes, Jonah Hill is in this movie.

So is Quentin but with that it's all about his send-off.

It's, shall we say, explosive?

Django Unchained doesn't exactly surpass Inglourious Basterds in that it is possibly a tad longer than it should be and isn't quite as joyfully, unforgettably anachronic as the latter. Also, a couple of rap songs squeezed into the score stick out like a sore thumb which, if you're not into rap, is kinda annoying. Still, it's one hell of a bloody, violent, surprisingly entertaining and heartfelt flick with enough powerful moments, thrilling performances and QT-isms to keep you glued to your screen from start to finish.

The ultimate modern blaxploitation flick: see it.

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