DVD Review: Django Unchained
I’ve never managed to finish watching Reservoir Dogs (due mainly to having to watch it late at night after everyone has gone to bed) so my love for Quentin Tarantino pretty much lies in my love of his film Pulp Fiction back in 1984. Most of what he’s produced since has been interesting enough, but never quite living up to the standards set by Pulp Fiction. Having said that, he’s certainly no M. Night Shyamalan whose films have gotten progressively worse, and probably the only reason Inglorious Basterds didn’t work for me was because I’m too much of a World War II purist.
So it was with some trepidation indeed that I approached his one hundred and sixty five minute spaghetti western outing, where America’s dirty laundry was about to be rubbed repeatedly in my face.
Django Unchained is set in the South, two years before the American Civil War, and follows the ups and downs in the life of the slave known as Django, who in the beginning of the film is freed from slavery in a most delightfully violent way by German born bounty hunter Dr King Schultz, who needs Django’s knowledge of three men who are next on his list of bounties to collect.
In the process of collecting the bounties – essentially by killing – Django tells Dr King of his wife and how they were separated. Cue revenge plot where by these two unlikely companions ride together to find and free Django’s wife.
Through Django, Tarantino exposes both his strengths and his weaknesses. Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz and Samuel L jackson show that Tarantino knows how to cast a film. One liners such as the borderline “A nigger on a horse” prove that Tarantino skates close to the edge with his humour, and a liberal amount of blood and guts shows us that Tarantino isn’t afraid to tell the story his way. But clocking in an 165 minutes long, Tarantino’s real weakness is in his inability in creating a film that doesn’t loose its way from time to time.
Django soars to great heights and proves to be worth it’s weight in gold as an entertaining romp through the South’s dark history, Foxx and Jackson deliver roles that will blow you away. But you also have to persevere through some boring, unintelligible and unnecessary bits as well.
In the end, Django was a pleasing, if somewhat exhausting ride, and keeps me hoping that Tarantino will one day be able to align his talents to produce a film that once again soars as high as Pulp Fiction did.
Rating: R16 Graphic violence and offensive language.