Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Django Unchained [A Fat Jesus Movie Review]

This was a bit of a toss up for me. On the one hand, I knew I wanted to see this. Quentin Tarantino is one of my favorite directors and with it starring Christoph Waltz, Jamie Foxx, Leo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson
 I knew this movie would be relevant to my interests. So last night, one of my last few nights in Texas (I'm moving, but that's a story for another time), me and my two friends decided to go see a showing of it. Needless to say, this was a great one to see on the big screen.

Django Unchained is set in 1858, somewhere in Texas and opens with two brothers, the Specks, transporting a group of slaves across the country. A man approaches them by the name of Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz). He is a dentist that is looking for a certain slave, Django (Jamie Foxx). Django is freed as Schultz kills one of the Speck brothers and leaves the fate of the others to the rest of the slaves in the convoy. Django is informed by Schultz that he freed him cause he needs his help to identify the Brittle brothers as Schultz is a bounty hunter. He hasn't been a dentist in five years and tells Django that the profession is is purely opportunistic and that he despises slavery. Schultz also finds out that Django's wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), was unjustly beaten and then sold by Django and her former owners (said Brittle brothers). The two strike up a deal where Django will help Schultz bounty hunt over the winter and in return he will help him find Broomhilda and get her back from Candyland plantation owner, Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) when the winter is over. The hunt begins as this most unlikely duo of bounty hunters sets off on a quest of vengeance and rescue in this, sharp-tonged, violence filled Tarantino film.

At times this movie can be as funny as any comedy and at the turn of a hat there are scenes that can make you really uncomfortable. I think that is exactly what one of the ingredients that makes this a great movie. Tarantino has always been able to do this flawlessly and Django Unchained is no different. The plot is fairly simple as it's a rescue mission scenario of sorts with a western twist. The dialogue is another point where this movie shines. Despite the sometimes overbearing vocabulary, which is often unrefined and crude (as evidenced by the time period and thought processes), really captures the period. Plus when Samuel L. Jackson finally comes in  there's a pretty fresh air of great one-liners and quotes to take the edge off of some of the more serious things going on. The action is western style gun fighting with a Tarantino blood and gore twist. Six shooters going off constantly as well as shotguns and rifles tearing through bodies and gratuitous amounts of blood shortly followed.

The cinematography is pretty damn beautiful. Rustic old west themed towns, the plantations, despite what they're used for, are beautiful to look at. As well as traveling in front of snow-capped mountains or long rolling fields. This is a beautiful movie to look at, both the landscapes and the costumes and clothes. The music is great as well. Django has his own theme as the movie opens as well as modern songs by the likes of John Legend and Rick Ross to name a few. The score throughout the movie is done very well also. Finally we come to the acting and actors. Jamie Foxx, didn't give the best performance of his career as Django, but he did a damn good job with the role. The unfavored (so to speak) black man learning to adapt to being a free bounty hunter trying to free his wife is a great watch. Leonardo DeCaprio (paired with Samuel L. Jackson) and plantation owner Calvin Candie and his head slave Stephen are phenomenal in their roles. Leo is great as a charismatic slave owner who is propitiating "mandingo fights" while Samuel is his right-hand man who's been around the block and is NOT afraid to say anything on his mind. Finally we come to the bright star of this movie in Christpoh Waltz, as dentist turned bounty hunter, King Schultz. Paired with Foxx these two really carry the movie and get you into the plot. The mannerisms, style and the way he carries himself when speaking are phenomenal and really brings Tarantino's writing to life.

There's not much more I can say about this. Definitely one of the better movies I seen all year. The dialogue and action are awesome. Combine it with great acting, directing, music and a healthy dose of gun-play and killing and you've got a grandiose story. A story of a slave turned free man who needs to take vengeance for and rescue his still enslaved wife. Quentin Tarantino, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx, Samuel L. Jackson and Christoph Waltz are an ensemble to be reckoned with and this movie was a great way to close out 2012.

1 comment:

  1. Good review Matthew. Tarantino's latest flick is one of his largest achievements in my opinion. Blending terrifically flowing dialogue with gruesome gore sequences (as always), this is one of the best films of 2012.