Thursday, December 27, 2012

Django Unchained (2012)

So after three years of waiting for his next film, I FINALLY watched Django Unchained last night.

As expected, the acting was just phenomenal, and Tarantino is a master of assembling the perfect cast. Jamie Foxx really nailed Django, and yes, he was believable as a bad ass. The whipping scars and his scruffy hair-do helped pull everything together, but Foxx really put his heart and soul into this character. Christoph Waltz's performance as Dr. King Schultz resembled Hans Landa from Inglorious Basterds. You know, the devious and sophisticated gentlemen with a nasty side. Of course, Schultz is one of the good guys here. And she doesn't speak too much, but Kerry Washington did a wonderful job of using her body language to express fear and anxiety through a series of facial expressions.

The Brittle Brothers and Big Daddy (Don Johnson) don't last long, but when their characters appear, Leo and Sam Jackson make up for the void of lost bad guys. Sam Jackson didn't just deliver his best performance in a Quentin Tarantino film, this is the best performance I've seen from him in any film. Stephen is the sniveling and loyal house for slave for Calvin Candie (Leo). He's they type of antagonist that you can hate and pity, and Stephen provides a few laughs every now and then.

And Leonardo DiCaprio was just fantastic as Calvin Candie. Candie is the merciless and powerful slave owner. Leo has a strong presence on screen, as this delightfully evil slave owner, and his intense and charismatic performance is so fun to watch. Plus, the woman, who plays Calvin's ditzy and snobbish sister (can't find her name) deserves some credit for the A+ cast of antagonists.

For me, Django was an upgrade over Inglorious Basterds. I won't put it up on the pedestal with Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs. It's in the pack with Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Jackie Brown, and that's not bad at all. Tarantino didn't revolutionize the Western genre with this film, but Django is an enjoyable revenge flick.

And now it's time for my major gripe with this film. I don't know about everyone else, but I hard time getting into the mentorship/training storyline with Django and Schultz. I understand the reasons behind Tarantino wanting to show Django's road to being a bad ass, but the initial storyline between Schultz and Django just drags and drags, and truth be told, it's very uninteresting at times. It wasn't unbearably bad, but Django Unchained doesn't kick into high gear until Candie and Stephen come into the picture.

Django Unchained is brutal, bloody, violent, funny, and Tarantino spares no expense for the hard to watch moments in this film. The dialogue is sharp, and the "we can't see anything through these masks!" scene with Jonah Hill, and Don Johnson is hilarious. And Tarantino's cameo is just priceless. Although, I wish I could've seen more of Walton Goggins, because he doesn't appear until the end.

Also, as far as the music goes, with the exception of "Ain't No Grave," and the opening Django theme, everything else was sub par. I'm not 100% certain, but I'm pretty sure I heard a Tupac song during the final shootout/Django's last stand, but it wasn't something to remember.

Final Rating: 9/10

EXTRA TIDBIT: After thinking it over for a day, I've come to conclusion that Django Unchained deserves a higher score, so I'm bumping it up one point! 

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