Django Unchained ★★★★

Part of My Top 10 Films of 2012
Quentin Tarantino Ranked

“And in the odd chance there are any Astronomy aficionados amongst you, the North Star is... that one.”

A German dentist/bounty hunter who is relentlessly searching Mid West for outlaws teams up with a bad tempered slave whose only dream is to find his wife and start a peaceful life, in the pursuit of redemption and revenge. Quentin Tarantino uses this simple and kind of cliched story line to pay homage to Spaghetti Westerns of 60s and 70s and at the same time he addresses one of the most critical and disturbing issues in the American history: Slavery and the racist brutality of white farmers toward the vulnerable slave community. Django Unchained is a film that mixes violence, comedy, historical facts and fictional events to produce something which is utterly amusing, significantly disturbing and considerably reflective. Not many films can achieve this artistic completion and not many directors can create a picture this much conclusive and compelling.
One thing special about the screenplay is that here Tarantino is using his storytelling ability to perfection. It is not just funny dialogues or memorable supporting characters that powers the movie, but here he knows how to use twist and turns, how to tell the story in the most appealing way and how to make thrill and suspense. Django is a unique film in QT’s career because this storytelling and the narrative is what pushes the film ahead, Tarantino is describing every scene, every character and every situation, and it is like reading a long detailed novel about the pre-civil war society.

There are plenty of characters in Django and like other films from Tarantino it is the supporting cast that brings charm and glory to the film. Christoph Waltz steals the show with his contemplative interpretation of Dr. Schultz and Leonardo DiCaprio’s portrayal of the sadistic brutal Calvin Candy and his devilish soul is so great that it really scares the viewer. Samuel L. Jackson renders a black man who is actually more racist than his white owners and his confrontation with Django makes the most unprecedented surprise of the film. One can argue that Kerry Washington’s character is a bit underused but at the end of the day we have to admit that this isn’t the type of movie that gives much space to female characters.

The dinner sequence-which is also the film’s climax- is a good example of Tarantino’s genius and his abilities in creating a tense and unpredictable situation. The tension and suspense is rising from the beginning of that scene and it ends in the most astounding way possible.

Django Unchained is another perfectly made film from one of the most talented directors of the past two decades. The visual style of the film, its characteristic violence, the soundtrack, the story and the film’s approach toward ethics and its hero, all are reminiscent of one of the most appreciated genres of cinema: the great Spaghetti Westerns. What Tarantino does is that he borrows elements from that and mixes them with his own creations and comes up with a film that is unlike any other. It is exceptional, it is marvelous and it is gloriously funny. It is Django Unchained.

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