Django Unchained (12/25/12)

Django UnchainedMovie Two Hundred Ninety Seven

A slave becomes a bounty hunter and seeks to free his wife from a brutal plantation owner in Django Unchained.

A pair of slave traders traveling through Texas with a handful of slaves is stopped by Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz). Schultz is looking for Django (Jamie Foxx) regarding the identities of the Brittle brothers for a bounty he is after. After a scuffle that leaves one slave trader dead, Django is bought by Schultz, who despises slavery and trains a newly free man, Django, as a fellow bounty hunter. After dealing with the Brittle brothers, Django tells Schultz about his wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), and Schultz vows to help Django track her down and free her from slavery. They discover she is working at a plantation owned by Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) but they have a plan to ensure Broomhilda’s freedom.

Quentin Tarantino has made quite a name for himself in the last twenty years and his films are widely praised for good reason. He makes films that are amalgamations of all the best parts of various genre films but instead of feeling cobbled together or copied, they feel fresh and raw. His craft has certainly been refined as of late, and Django Unchained may be his most refined film to date. The production feels immense and maybe even more polished than any of Tarantino’s previous works. That is, if you aren’t afraid of erupting wounds, unflinching violence, and lots of course language, it’s one of his finest films.

Django Unchained is one of the better movies to come out of 2012 and it’s one of my favorites of the year. The only thing that really held it back is its length; at 165 minutes it feels long and it drags a bit near the middle. Had the film been closer to two hours I think it would have been lean and mean, without losing much of its charm. Django Unchained constantly tries to keep things interesting, but it’s tough when a film is approaching three hours. After a while, I just wanted less talking and more shooting.

The length of Django Unchained is really my only complaint against the film. I think Leonardo DiCaprio gives one of his best performances of his career, something I was kind of surprised by. Christoph Waltz is, of course, fantastic, as is Jamie Foxx. Kerry Washington doesn’t really do much for me, but she does a good job as well. Unsurprisingly, Samuel L. Jackson gives a great performance that truly only he could give.

I’m concerned that Tarantino’s visions are getting larger and larger and the Weinstein’s are willing to let him run free. Normally this would be a good thing, but I think Tarantino’s movies are technically getting more refined, but there is also a trend of them getting long. If his next film is even longer than Django Unchained, it’s going to need to be something incredibly special, which it likely will be. Django Unchained has been dubbed a Spaghetti Southern, a riff on the Spaghetti Western genre, and I kind of wish more filmmakers took up and made films for this new genre to match Django Unchained.

I give it 5 Samuel Jacksons out of 5.


Rotten Tomatoes


47 responses to “Django Unchained (12/25/12)

  1. I agreed with you on the length, I saw at least another 15 minutes they could have tightened. You heard of it initially going to be released as another 2 part series right? So, he seems to like the soap opera ordeal of it all. Said he might might 2 more films, I doubt 3 but hope. But that he wanted to make another “epic” and split the film in half. Great write up!

    • See, I’d almost it rather have been made into two “films” like Kill Bill. But there are easily 15 minutes of walking or something inconsequential that could have been left out and put on the blu-ray or something.

      • But then it would have ended when Leonardo came into the film and that would have been the worst Christmas present and teaser ever! haha I thought I would see more of Tom Savini so that disappointed me a bit. I knew his character was going to be deaf but he was always in the background, oh well.

  2. If I’d seen this nine days ago it would have made my top ten which I expanded to top 12 so now a bakers dozen. This is a remarkable film. Very funny in the fiction and raw in language and intensity of subject matter accurate within the historical timeframe. Very good review.

  3. Tarantino does make long films, that’s a fact. Pulp Fiction rolls out at 168 minutes and Inglorious Bastards at 153. Only the two Kill Bill’s came in at 112 and 138 respectively. He has always tended to be a bit self serving in area of film length. But, he does make interesting and fascinating films. We can only hope that he eventually realises that his films do not need to be over 2 hours long to entertain. Great post! 🙂

    • I don’t think that Pulp Fiction feels that long at all, though. Inglorious Basterds, maybe…Kill Bill obviously doesn’t unless watched as one whole film. I think he could stand to get back to his roots a bit and make a raw, lean film like Reservoir dogs again.

  4. Interesting to read this review, I really wasn’t sure of it when I saw the trailer at the cinema the other night. We were going to see ‘Safety Not Guaranteed’. Really enjoyed it. 🙂

  5. I did notice that this movie was a tad long. I think during the huge gun fight scene, all I could think about was…”Oh, here comes the ending.” I said that line three times in the movie. HAHA

    It was still a great movie despite the length. I liked that QT had a cameo in the movie. Everybody was great in this movie. Although Leonardo DiCaprio did great, I really loved Christopher Waltz’s performance.

  6. Good review. I saw this one with my friend and his girlfriend. She got disgusted and left during the bloody shootout near the end. Not sure what she was expecting haha.

  7. Andy this is certainly in my top three films of the year. One of a handful of films that managed to reach my lofty expectations. Also the most realistic look at slavery in a Looooong time.

  8. Pingback: Django Unchained Review | The Filmster

  9. I saw this film in West Philadelphia with a mostly black audience and we were all loving it. The most laughs came during the scene where Samuel L. Jackson first reacts to seeing Jamie Foxx riding in to Candieland on a horse.

    • Yeah, it’s probably worth a rental if you’re fine with waiting. It’s probably not like anything will get spoiled, plot-wise, I’m sure you can predict how much of it will turn out.

      I think Inglorious Basterds needs to be given another watch, I’ve seen it twice, pretty much back-to-back and I loved it but I’ve forgotten some of the finer details. The intro scene with Christoph Waltz visiting that farm house is still vivid, though.

  10. Pingback: My December Movies Round-Up | Andy Watches Movies

  11. Just found this in my inbox Andy. Sorry I’m so late man. Busy as a mutha these days. Anyway, glad to hear you liked it. It was overlong and could have been tighter but still fantastic fun.

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