‘Django Unchained’: a masterpiece of blood and guts

Picture from DeviantArt.com

Picture from DeviantArt.com

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It’s not often that a movie comes along that is, as Julie Andrews once said, “practically perfect in every way,” and while Django Unchained is not a flawless movie, one could easily place it in the top tiers of cinema.

Directed and written by acclaimed film mogul Quentin Tarantino, the story is a simple one of deceit and revenge. Django (Jamie Foxx), a recently freed slave, takes on the South itself in a brutal and visceral mission to rescue his wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington). He is assisted by dignified bounty hunter Dr. Schultz (Christoph Waltz), facing off against slave-owner Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) and crooked house slave Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson).

Tarantino delivers another wonderful script- the dialogue is sharp and the story itself flows along wonderfully, managing to fill more than two hours without dragging. The cinematography is beautiful and stylized, bringing a flashiness to the gritty world of pre-Civil War America. It is, however, the actors that carry this piece along.

Foxx is magnificent as Django, displaying a cool solidarity in the face of horror. Likewise, DiCaprio’s famous baby-face is all but absent; his role as ‘Monsieur’ Candie twists the actor into a psychotic, grinning monster. A snake in crushed velvet, assisted by a fantastic Jackson who nearly disappears into the role of Stephen, a traitorous house slave. However, it is Waltz as Schultz who carries the day, delivering a Golden Globe- winning performance that is at once hilarious and deeply human. The film is worth seeing for him alone.

The only real issue of the film may be its soundtrack; musical choices range from Spanish ballads to bass-heavy rap. Though the pieces usually make sense in context of the scene, at some points the songs are odd enough to momentarily distract one from the movie (a particularly memorable example involves a pounding hip-hip song blasting over an image of ten people walking in a field, not speaking to each other).

Additionally, this is not a film for the faint of heart. The language is foul, and gore abounds. In the span of one hour there are scenes of two men fist-fighting to the death, men getting attacked by dogs, branding, torture, shootouts, and even castration.

Django Unchained is nominated for several Academy Awards, and it earns them. See it, but be prepared to cover your eyes.

4.8/5 stars

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