Sunday, March 22, 2015

Django Unchained

Movie Review : Django Unchained
Director : Quentin Tarantino
Genre : Action/Western
Starring : Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson
Released : December 2012
My Rating : 7 out of 10

Before watching a Quentin Tarantino movie, I guess you should ask yourself if you are a fan or not. Liking ‘Pulp Fiction’ is not enough. I liked it, but I am no fan of him. Maybe “Kill Bill” is a right example. Did you like it? I didn’t like it at all, but if you liked it, then there is a good chance that you might like this movie.

The movie begins in 1858, just a few years before the Civil War. Dr. King Schultz (Christoff Waltz), a dentist turned bounty hunter, forcibly takes a slave, Django (Jamie Foxx) from his recent owners. Dr. Schultz is not interested in keeping Django as a slave, but rather wants Django’s help in identifying other criminals. So he offers Django freedom, and makes him a business partner. Their “business” does quite well, and after accumulating enough money they start their quest to locate and free Django’s wife.

They learn that Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) is now on a plantation owned by Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio). This man is as deplorable as they come, so Schultz and Django invent an elaborate pretext to be invited there. Not everything can go as planned, and Candie’s sycophant slave Stephen (Samuel Jackson, under a heavy makeup) sees right through them.

Just like his previous endeavour (The Inglourious Basterds) Tarantino has chosen another sensitive subject to impose his style on, and he easily succeeds. There is a lot of vintage Tarantino in the movie, especially in the scenes focused on Christoff Waltz who gives a comparable performance to his famous role in The Inglourious Basterds. These scenes, as we have come to expect now, are full of smart, witty dialogues that build up the tension required for the eventual violent follow-up. Also, we are constantly guessing as to which direction the scenes will move towards. That’s the good part.

What I specifically didn’t like was the mix up of these high quality scenes with deliberately impossible action, in the later part of the movie. Sometimes our two lead protagonists are ordinary human beings, who have to worry about things going wrong. Sometimes they can wipe out an army with a revolver that never runs out of bullets. Either one on it’s own is acceptable, but the combination did not work for me. In fact, in the end, it ruined my experience, and for a long movie like this, it’s a serious shortcoming.

The acting is generally good. Jamie Foxx has done a reasonable job, and Samuel Jackson rarely fails to deliver. Christoff Waltz, as I mentioned, is perfect. The one who impressed me most was Lionardo Do Caprio. His star image, doesn’t bring an evil Southern slave owner to mind, but he has done a wonderful wonderful job. His progression since the romantic hero of Titanic has been a joy over the years.

I repeat. If you have like his previous movies, then there is a good chance that you will like this one, else, not so much. This is correctly rated R, and has copious amounts of violence.

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