Django Unchained

Django Unchained ★★★★½

Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" is a sprawling epic of a Western that, although it collapses under the weight of its Tarantino-ness, is very worthy of praise. A compelling and violent story of antebellum bounty hunters, the film has an excellent cast. A great Christof Waltz gives the film its center, while Jamie Foxx's charismatic turn as Django Freeman adds luster to the proceedings. Leonardo DiCaprio, Don Johnson, and Samuel L. Jackson are kinetic in their supporting roles.

Tarantino's widescreen compositions are remarkable. These, along with the period design, combine to create one of the best looking Westerns (er, Southerns?) in the last ten years. The costumes, dirt, and blood put the audience firmly in Tarantino's snowy American west and humid American south. The film's editing keeps the energy of this nearly three-hour film up, and the film's forward motion rarely flags.

For the first two hours of "Django Unchained," the film is truly great. It is funny, involving, well-assembled and good looking. However, at some point in the third act, the film's fits of cartoony violence and anachronistic soundtrack choices become exhausting; the fingerprints of Taratino take their toll. However, this is a small and personal quibble for a film that is otherwise excellent.

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