Like most classic Westerns the goodies in Django Unchained are instantly likeable, fist-pumpingly heroic, and unrelenting in their quest for revenge, and the baddies are real filthy, dirty scum-bags that will leave you squirming in your seat.
Unlike most classic Westerns there is a symphony of mouth-watering dialogue and clever word play. Out with the ten-minute long horse chases across deserted grass land without so much as a word spoken that came to define the genre, and in with edge-of-your-seat conversations that flow as effortlessly as melting honey off a hot knife.
But before we go any further, let’s clear one thing up. Django Unchained ain’t like any Western — or any thing — you’ve ever seen before…
At its core Django Unchained is a revenge thriller told using over-the-top, comic-book esque imagery. It follows freed slave Django as he and bounty hunter, and his partner-in-a-good-kind-of-crime, scheme to rescue his wife from notorious businessman, and all-round scum bag, Calvin Candie, from, um, Candie land.
The brutal, bloody violence is there in abundance — but this time it’s serious. If you’re dealing with an issue as abhorrent, and, let’s face it, disgusting as slavery there’s little point in sugar coating it. Tarantino ensures we are all reminded of just how truly horrific it is, but unlike some of his other films, there is no ‘gratuitous’ violence — it’s all real. Every gunshot, every whip scar, every vicious fistfight, and every blood-spill is a carefully thought out representation of the savagery of the times.
Having heard the horror stories of people rushing out of the cinema, and heaving into a paper bag upon witnessing the gore, I was fully expecting to be served up a dish of ferociousness — and for the most part, it was ferocious but no worse than any other ‘Western’. In fact Tarantino, if anything, held back when it came to the really nasty moments by using cutaways and implications of violence.
Tarantino recently spoke about the importance of casting, saying: ‘Casting is everything. As much as I love these actors, these people, I love my characters more.’ And it’s obvious, that he puts as much thought into picking the right actors to play the right parts, as he does when it comes to crafting unrivalled screenplays.
Leonardo DiCaprio gave a powerhouse performance as Calvin Candie; Jamie Foxx sunk his teeth into the role of a lifetime as hero Django; Kerry Washington was simply perfect as Broomhilda, and Samuel L. Jackson was terrifying as ‘the most dispicable negro in cinematic history’ Steven. But, once again, it was Christoph Waltz who, um, Waltzed away with it in his Oscar-nominated role as Dr. Schultz. His timing, and delivery of sizzling dialogue is the stuff of dreams. QT himself said he would be hard pressed to ever find another actor who delivers his dialogue better than Waltz, and I can’t help but agree.
The chemistry between the cast was electrifying enough to light up the cinema.
The dialogue is hypnotically good — so well written that you will find yourself nodding along to its perfect rhythm, and fighting the urge to join in. It’s fluidity is frighteningly good, and trademark Tarantino.
Django Unchained, whether you love it or hate it, is sure to stay with you for weeks after seeing it. It’s powerful, emotive subject matter is creating a buzz online and in the streets — everyone’s talking about it. And that’s what it’s all about. Creating something that will last forever.
It’s in your face. It’s over the top. It’s exciting. It’s horrifying. It’s romantic. It’s brave, and it’s, understandably, controversial. But most of all it’s unmissable.
Tarantino you always had my curiosity. And you’ll always have my attention.