George Clark’s review published on Letterboxd:
Django Unchained is a 2012 American Western film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, starring Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, and Samuel L. Jackson. On a $100 million budget, Django Unchained grossed $425.4 million worldwide and has a certified fresh score of 87% on Rotten Tomatoes. The film also won 2 Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor, won by Christoph Waltz.
From Pulp Fiction, Inglorious Basterds, Reservoir Dogs and now Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino has a serious talent for directing. Pulp Fiction will always be a masterpiece to general audiences and Inglorious Basterds will always be a fun period piece film but Django Unchained is easily one of Tarantino's best work. Just like Inglorious Basterds, Django Unchained is another sharply written, incredibly shot revenge tale that displays the horrors of slavery profoundly for the period of time its set in.
On the surface, Django Unchained is a standard revenge tale, but it has a mean streak that enhances every aspect of the experience for me. Django goes from slave to cowboy in this film, it shows the horrors of slavery while also allowing the audience to have a good time with the film simultaneously. Unlike other films this works fantastically as it shows the low moments of Django's life whilst also showing some highpoints as well, Tarantino's period piece about slavery is simply one of the best in its genre as it deals with its subject matter with profound effect while also allowing you to have fun as you become more engaged with Django's story as the film goes on. The film has all of the violence you've come to suspect from a Tarantino film and whilst the constant swearing did hamper some scenes, it is more than likely historically accurate for the time period. I loved watching the direction, the screenplay, the violence, the acting and the historical timeline, they all do a great job and enhance my experience with the film.
Jamie Foxx gives an incredible performance as Django, his emotions, actions and sense of style makes him easily one of 2012's best actors, his performance throughout is brilliant. Leonardo DiCaprio is fierce, intimidating and again, incredible in the role. Surprisingly these two performances aren't my favourite, everyone does a great job in this film, from the likes of the two above, to Samuel L. Jackson's fantastic performance, they all do great but for me, like Inglorious Basterds, Christoph Waltz is the standout. He does a fantastic job at portraying Dr. King Schultz and again continues to stun me with his acting. A well deserved Oscar indeed and I'm unsure what role I like better. Could it be Django Unchained or Inglorious Basterds?
With Django Unchained, Tarantino once again showed his incredible ability to create a compelling storyline with incredible characters, but for me, the soundtrack is phenomenal, it works incredibly well for me. This was one of the most consistently entertaining films I've seen. The 165 minute runtime may seem long to some, but I was fully engaged throughout and the time absolutely flew by. Personally, I'm not a big Western fan, I like watching them but I don't watch them very often and yet I loved this, I went in thinking there's no way it could top the Tarantino film "Inglorious Basterds" that I watched yesterday but it blew me away and I can now say that yes, I was wrong. Whilst I loved Inglorious Basterds, I enjoyed this one just a little bit more as the storyline, dialogue, soundtrack, acting and cinematography are all incredible throughout the entire runtime. The only thing that put me a tiny bit off this movie was the use of the N word about a thousand times, whilst I get its historically accurate, the film could have done without it a few times.
Django Unchained is everything you'd want from a Tarantino film whilst Pulp Fiction will always be his masterpiece, this come in a very close second for me. What a brilliant movie this is.