Andy Summers’s review published on Letterboxd:
I'm quite possibly the last person on the planet to get around to seeing this. When it came out at the cinema we turned up twice to two booked out showings and ended up seeing something else. Then a few weeks ago when it came out on Blu Ray we were moving house and although I bought it the day it came out,we waited for just the right night. Last night was that night.
Where do you start? The theme-tune set the tone for a Southern set Gothic epic. Foreboding from the off,the chain-gang of slaves trudging through the night epitomized the harshness of life in the deep South. Inherently racist these times are quite rightly considered to be America's darkest days and Tarantino captured that sense of brutal evil with a script as disgusting as some of the characters. Entertaining though it was some of the language although authentic for the times was difficult to hear. Tarantino knows how to set the mood and the racism along with Django's quest is the crux of the story. The star of the show for me though isn't Jamie Foxx. He carries himself better in this film than anything he's done before (including Ray) but I still don't like him. Can't say what it is,maybe the prima-dona approach he's taken to most of his roles and his major falling out with Michael Mann during Miami Vice has made him look a bit of an arse-hole. I digress. Christoph Waltz,what an actor. Everything this guys does turns to gold. Two Oscars in the space of 4 years makes me think that Mr Tarantino will be calling on him regularly as he's obviously just brilliant. Here he plays the role of a German bounty hunter with a ruthless streak as wide as the Mississippi but with a heart and empathy for the oppressed. Freeing Django and striking a deal with him to identify three brothers who worked on a slave plantation in exchange for his freedom,the two set off into the night. Treating Django with respect,he earns his trust and the two agree on a partnership over the Winter before heading to Mississippi to free Django's wife.
As about as blood-soaked and violent as Reservoir Dogs and Kill Bill put together, Django Unchained also pays tribute to some other iconic westerns. My own personal favorite,"The Wild Bunch" was drenched in blood and that image of their shadows on the ground when walking towards their doom was copied perfectly by Tarantino. I'm sure I missed others but that one struck a cord with me as a huge Sam Peckinpah fan. Quentin's barrage of bullets and blood is a fitting tribute to "bloody-Sam" and this film echoes those unbelievable scenes that are etched in my memory. We've all seen blood before,but this film was swimming in it and I loved every second of it.
Leonardo DiCaprio is earning a serious reputation as a grown up actor. Far removed from that annoying little cunt from Titanic, his Calvin Candie character is the most repulsive of his career to date. And that's just what he was supposed to be. Tarantino molded a character for everyone to hate. And with DiCaprio commanding the respect he deserves,delivers something extraordinary. In fact nobody disappoints,and could this see a comeback of sorts for Don Johnson? Who knows?
I love Westerns and Driver's vote has me intrigued to see how this fairs. Far removed from John Ford and co.'s classics,I hope this will re-establish the genre and put these sort of films back in the spotlight.