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If you’re on the fence about going to see Quentin Tarantino’s latest offering of Django Unchained, I can’t make it simpler than three words: go see it. What you’re going to find is a stark and affecting piece, full of dynamic and memorable characters with actors who are swinging for the fences. All of this is wrapped up neatly in Tarantino’s signature style, and makes for a moviegoing experience that only comes along once every so often. So do yourself a favour and get yourself into this movie. If you need more persuasion, read on!
Django Unchained is set in one of the most glossed over periods in American history, the one of rampant slavery and oppression just prior to the civil war. The story follows the titular Django(Jaime Foxx), a slave on a quest to locate and free his wife, after they were separated following a failed escape attempt. His quest is aided by Dr. King Schultz(Christoph Waltz), the enigmatic dentist-turned-bounty-hunter(a logical career move if I ever saw one), who frees Django and teaches him the tools of his trade, having seen Django’s natural affinity for bounty hunting. Together, they discover that his wife is under the ownership of the charismatic and sadistic plantation owner, Calvin Candie(Leonardo DiCaprio)
What follows is classic Tarantino. Wild and inexplicably survivable action sequences, rapid gear shifts between deadpan serious and almost corny cliche and over-the-top gore for gore’s sake. All of these things are what you’ve come to expect form each of Tarantino’s movies. But what you might not expect is one of the most human and affecting films Tarantino has made to date. With the hardships endured by the main character, and the focus placed on one of the most glossed over areas in history, its hard not to find yourself emotionally invested in Django and his quest.
Like most of Tarantino’s films, though the action is all well and good, it’s the cast who are the main attraction. Assembled is a group of hardworking character actors who are leaving everything on the table. Jaime Foxx manages to capture the feeling of hardship that the character has gone through, and the struggles he faces while keeping his cover as they attempt to locate his wife. Christoph Waltz, as always, steals each and every scene that he’s in as Dr. Schultz. Probably the most impressive is Leonardo DiCaprio, who puts on an extravagant show, managing to capture the essence of a truly sadistic and evil character wrapped up in a facade of charisma and southern charm. His performance is wonderfully affecting, and proves that DiCaprio has some serious acting talent if put to the task. And finally, you have Samuel L. Jackson playing what I can only call “What would happen if Samuel L. Jackson got the part of Alfred the Butler in Batman.” I mean, really, the movie is worth seeing for that alone.
Tarantino’s particular style and brand of grindhouse-esque, over the top sensibilities is not for everyone, but if you feel there is the slightest change you can appreciate such a thing, then you owe it to yourself to go see this movie. Here you have one of the most unique, wild and impressive movie-going experiences I’ve seen in a long time. Don’t miss it.