Django Unchained (2012)


Been a while since I posted a movie review here. I’m so wishy-washy as to what my format here should be. But for now, movie reviews are back in the biz, because I’m bored.

Quentin Tarantino put together a really entertaining movie in Django Unchained around a very game Jamie Foxx and the inimitable Christoph Waltz. It’s impossible not to root for the German bounty hunter, Dr. Shultz (Waltz, who in real life is Austrian), and his badass protege, Django (Foxx… duh), as they weave a quilt of bullets and blood through 1858 America en route to Mississippi, where Django plans to find and liberate his wife, now a slave for plantation owner Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) at the aptly (and chuckle-worthy) named Candieland.

(That was a really long sentence.)
DiCaprio seems to have a fun in the part as the villain, and since he’s had so few roles as lead antagonist (I can’t think of any off the top of my head), that sounds like it would be refreshing. Ditto Samuel L. Jackson, who plays Candieland’s resident “Uncle Tom,” a potty-mouthed piece-of-shit servant named Steven. You know, like the little brother or classmate that ALWAYS squeals on you at the first sign of trouble. A real rat, and a far cry from the usual BAMF everyone associates with Jackson, from Pulp Fiction to his role as Nick Fury in the Marvel franchise, and even his character in Snakes on a Plane.

Meanwhile, that same against-type casting is evident with Waltz, who finally gets to play a hero after mainly partaking in American film as the bad guy, most notably in Inglourious Basterds, another Tarantino piece. At times, I felt like Tarantino might have been thinking, “I wrote such asshole Germans that now I want to make it up to them.” The funny thing is, Waltz’s Shultz is so similar to Basterds‘ Col. Hans Landa in their nonchalant attitudes, mannerisms and chattiness that if it weren’t for the fact one was staunchly anti-slavery in 19th century America while the other was a Nazi, you’d be sure it was the same guy. So… maybe its not against-type after all.

Django had a long lull between the action-packed opening, and bloody finale, probably about 30 minutes too long considering that anyone who saw a preview knew where the plot was headed. Additionally, Jonah Hill had no business being in this movie, playing a goofy Klansman (credited as Bag Head #2) in an otherwise hilarious scene (of which there were several). His inclusion was an unwelcome distraction that pulled me out of the moment. Like I’m waiting for McLovin to ride in on a horse, backwards, awkwardly yelling something stupid like, “What up, mah nigggggggggggahs!”

Which reminds me, the N-bomb is dropped only about 500 times in this movie, along with some great strings of “motherfucker” to go along with a lot of gore that was equal parts grotesque and campy.

Overall, Django Unchained is easily well worth a trip to the theatre.

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