A bloody masterpiece and brilliant Revisionist U.S.-Western from mythic eccentric Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained is a highly-stylized/wild tribute to Spaghetti Westerns of 1960’s – boasting a legendary cast, scripting, & Christoph Waltz. 9.7/10.
Plot Synopsis: Set two years before the Civil War, Django Unchained tells the story of Dr. King Schulz, a dentist-turned-bounty hunter who enlists the help of a slave named Django on his escapades. As the two become friends, Schulz learns that Django’s wife is still a slave at one of the South’s largest plantations and the two conspire a way to set her free. However, this proves a difficult and dangerous feat, leading to a big finale showdown.
*Possible spoilers ahead*
Official CLC Review
TARANTINO HAS DONE IT AGAIN. ABSOLUTE MASTERPIECE OF A FILM. It was quite bold when Tarantino announced he would be trying to ‘modernize’ the spaghetti western with his newest film ‘Django Unchained’. Tarantino had already had classics to his name, including such works as Reservoir Dogs, Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2, and Inglorious Basterds, but this was pushing the boundaries of cinema even more than what he was known for and what was acceptable in film history, as western had not had its hay-day in popularity since in 40 years. However, what we got was an absolute marvel and near flawless film that comes around once in a long time, and proof that Tarantino belongs in the Pantheon of Top Directors of All-Time (Top 7 objectively, Top 5 in my opinion). A bloody masterpiece and brilliant Revisionist U.S.-Western from mythic eccentric Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained is a highly-stylized/wild tribute to Spaghetti Westerns of 1960’s boasting a legendary cast, scipt, & Christoph Waltz performance.
From the opening credits of the film, you instantly get the feel of the classic genres of film like spaghetti westerns of yesteryears. The film is brilliantly constructed and the story equally unfolded so that there is never a dull moment, even in dialogue-only scenes which is a marvel of a feat difficult for many directors and writers to attain aside from Tarantino’s famously grand and bold action sequences. The acting in this film is breathtaking. I maintain that Django Unchained might have one of the most legendary casts EVER assembled in a film: Academy-Award winners Christoph Waltz, Jamie Foxx, and Leonardo DiCaprio, Academy Award nominees Samuel L. Jackson and Jonah Hill, and Golden Globe and Emmy (most aforementioned share these as well) winner Kerry Washington. Like literally just read out loud that cast. Insanity. And they do not disappoint, Christoph Waltz and DiCaprio steal the show with All-Time great performances, but there is not one weak link, all actors sharing the spotlight and coming together to make a spectacularly acted film on every level.
The range of the film is equally wowing. The cinematography for one features perfectly-shot scenes ranging from the old west to mountain canyons to southern plantations. The soundtrack is unbelievable and as diverse as humanly possible in a film, while always working with the scene its paired with. You have classical Beethoven, old west tunes, hard rap from Rick Ross, R&B, and even JAPANESE music all smushed together, and somehow it fits perfectly. Unreal testament to how talented Tarantino and his staff are. Django Unchained also balances tear-jerking humor with a serious and psychologically complex script drawing on heavy issues such as religious ideology, classic fairy tales vs. real life, and the horrors of slavery. The movie is downright HILARIOUS. Dr. Schulz sly humor always hits the mark and Django too and there are genius sequences like the KKK horse-riding and “bag”-incident, but Samuel L. Jackson had me actually weak from laughing so hard, one of the funniest roles I’ve seen in a long time and refreshing in the film’s ultimate motif of diversity and range in all aspects including tone.
Finally, the action. Yes, Tarantino’s specialty and flare. He certainly does not disappoint in his bold extravaganza of a finale shootout at the Candies’ estate, the most memorable moment of the film and an absolutely jaw-dropping and thrilling sequence. The gore is moderate in comparison to most of his other films, genius in order to draw a bigger crowd that won’t be scared off by something as inconsequential as violence, but I’d like it if it was a little more turned down (not a problem for me but others understandably) so that everyone else could love it and enjoy the film in its entirety as much as I do. That, and that I wish the film was about 15-20 min shorter, as 2:45 is a long time, are the only (infinitesimally) small flaws I can find in this masterpiece of a film from an All-Time great director in complete control of his craft.
Overall, Django Unchained is a bloody masterpiece and another brilliant piece of filmmaking from Quentin Tarantino to add to his already-storied filmography. A bloody masterpiece and brilliant Revisionist U.S.-Western from mythic eccentric Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained is a highly-stylized/wild tribute to Spaghetti Westerns of 1960’s boasting a legendary cast, scipt, & Christoph Waltz performance. Boldly reinventing and resculpting the spaghetti western with a legendary cast and execution, it might realistically be the best – and my favorite – western since Leone’s 1967 The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly.
Official CLC Score: 9.7/10