Django Unchained

Django Unchained ½

How many music montages does one movie need? There's a point in this film where there are two in a row. And for a film that's already overlong, that's not a good thing.

Indulgent is the best word to describe this. It's just edited so poorly. A lot needs to be taken out - and could be, with zero impact on the story. And it's not even a good story. The emotional core is there, but apart from that, the only thing incredible is how ordinary it all is. Ordinary and unnecessary. The scene with Franco Nero accomplished nothing whatsoever, apart from adding a few minutes to the running time. Same deal with the bags. Who is the target audience for this...2nd graders? This movie should be half as long as it is.

I knew something was awry when the heroes use the same trick twice (swiped from The Three Musketeers, naturally) to show they are bounty hunters after killing their targets. When a movie duplicates a scene nearly verbatim and fails to advance the story any further, it became abundantly clear (as it does whenever I watch a QT movie) that someone needs to be hired to supervise Tarantino. He's like a child with free reign of the playground. And I mean child literally. Snowy snow? Last chance fancy pants? If any other writer on Earth, regardless of age, wrote that into their story, they would be flogged in the street and condemned from handling writing instruments for life. Hey, why not throw in some completely anachronistic hip-hop because there's black people in it!

The biggest problem, however, was the plan to rescue the wife. Why didn't the doctor just go into Candy Land (we're dealing with a child, remember?) on his own, use the whole German language dupe to get Mr. Candie to notice their connection, and then offer to buy her for a good price? That would work without a hitch.

It makes complete and utter sense and everyone wins. Only problem ends right there. So, instead of logic prevailing, we're treated to another hour of sheer contrivance for the sake of adding another hour to the running time. And shoehorning in a bunch of action because the puerile mind behind it all couldn't come up with anything that did make sense. Or to avoid shame by preventing the film from showing on Nickelodeon, as it would if it wasn't full of squibs so bloody, Paul Verhoeven probably jacks-off to them (schoolboy humor...figured it was appropriate).

It doesn't help that QT is a pretty bad director. Every time I see an interesting/cool shot or moment or scene in one of "his" films, I can only think 'I wonder what movie that came from...', because you know it didn't come from him. He can't even come up with original titles anymore. But it's not just his complete reliance on homage (codeword for ripping off and getting away with it). He doesn't know how to utilize the language of cinema. There's more to it than recreating a shot and borrowing some lines from a movie you saw in 1976. He doesn't know how to make anything feel real or consequential. The humor is forced, the tension is artificial, the emotion is not earned. The guy just doesn't get it. If you came for the style, you can be entertained while watching it, but with no sense of gravitas whatsoever, there's nothing to take with you once the movie is over. It you came for the substance, you'll leave empty-handed. You gain no insight and feel no real emotion.

There are two instances in this movie where the lead character threatens to pull out his gun when there are 8 or 9 bad guys right next to him (I'd list names, but I don't know who the fuck they were because they were never developed in any way other than 'bad guy'). We know you're not going to whip out your gun, blow your cover, and engage in a shootout after just meeting these cardboard cut-out adversaries in the middle of the god damn movie. It's just thrown in because that's what QT thinks constitutes as tension. His understanding of how to show the viewer that the hero cares for his wife begins and ends with 'kill bad guys'. It's dummy film-making at its most dumb.

This movie is just plain childish and stupid. The script should have been hung on a refrigerator door, because that's right where it belongs.

PS: It's nice to see Leo delivering yet another spot-on Leonardo DiCaprio impression, but I think it's time he remembered how to act. This is the kid from Gilbert Grape? Not any more. He always plays himself. He never elevates material. Has two emotional ranges: on and off. It was funny for a while, but now it's just embarrassing.

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