Thursday, January 10, 2013
Movie Review: Django Unchained
In this day and age, little is original or new in storytelling, and while the story of revenge isn’t new in Django Unchained, the characters come to life by superb acting from a stellar cast.
The story of Django Unchained follows a slave in the late 1800’s who is needed by a bounty hunter for assistance in identifying a trio of brothers that he can make a large sum of money off of. The bounty hunter, Dr. Shultz, is German, played wonderfully by Christoph Waltz, and he does not like the concept of slavery, seeing no issue with befriending and freeing Django, played by Jamie Foxx. Django is sold into slavery, as is custom in the times and Dr. Schultz takes him around Texas, killing white people and collecting massive amounts of money for it.
As the story progresses, Django confides in Dr. Shultz that he wants to save his wife, and Schultz comes up with a plan to free her from a wealthy land owner in Mississippi. Calvin Candie is played by Leonardo DiCaprio, despicable and manipulative as ever. Candie has, as his right hand, a black slave, Stevie, played by Samuel L. Jackson. The latter realises the plan of Schultz and Django and the situation becomes dicey, the usual ending to a Tarantino film on the horizon.
Without giving the ending away, Django Unchained is yet another wonderful story told by Quentin Tarantino. While the idea isn’t original, the acting and writing bring the story to life, making the situations in the story somehow believable despite the fact that they are utterly unbelievable. Foxx and Waltz are stellar together, though I feel like Waltz’ character was very similar to his German Hans Landa, the same quirks and idiosyncrasies. That does not detract from his performance, it just makes it feel familiar. Foxx is quiet and thoughtful in his performance, but it too does not feel like new ground for the actor. I only found DiCaprio’s despicable Candie was truly surprising, but mostly for the roots of slavery he promoted.
I was surprised to see this nominated for an Academy Award, mostly because Tarantino seems to get snubbed so frequently, but the movie is quite good and the acting is top notch. Django is well worth the watch despite the excessive violence, gore and male nudity.