Django Unchained (Quentin Tarantino – 2012) A-

I really think people look way too deep into Tarantino films, especially this one and his previous masterpiece “Inglourious Basterds“. Oh, what does this mean? What is he saying in this scene or the next? What is Tarantino “taking on” in this work? Is it the holocaust or slavery? I say, he is not doing anything other than entertaining us and not much more. He is a filmmaker still on top of his game creating works that thrill both visually, through memorable characters, sharp dialogue and shocking acts of violence. Just like all his movies, Django Unchained draws on what Tarantino likes and enjoys from cinema, in this case Spaghetti Westerns with the backdrop of slavery and revenge. The film is tight and tense. In typical Tarantino style he build the tension slowly through dialogue where you know it will explode. Here he does that for extended scenes especially during the conversations that included Leonardo DiCaprio as the evil Mr. Calvin Candie. He manages to create fantastic characters, perfect dialogue and situations that could be very very funny (that Klan scene is brilliant comedy) or very shockingly tragic (like the “Mandingo fighting” scene). We get uncomfortable enough but then he lets the tension go and we settle back in, then he ratchets it up with a scene like the awful dog scene which has a lot of  impact on the character of Dr. Schultz (Christoph Waltz) and is key for the plot of the film. Speaking of excellent performances, there are a lot of them here, from the brilliant Christoph Waltz, to DiCaprio and a small but memorable role by Don Johnson. Last but not least, Calvin Candie might be bad,  but Sam Jackson plays Steve as evil loathsome and manipulative as they come. Django Unchained is a fantastic time at the movies from a modern master. I am looking forward to his next flick.


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