Django Unchained

Django Unchained ★★★½

Django Unchained was facing an uphill battle with me considering it was following Inglourious Basterds, a film that was not only a return to form for Quentin Tarantino after missing the mark with Kill Bill Vol.2 and Death Proof, but one that saw him very successfully expanding on his style.

Django is a good bit of fun, filled with everything we've grown to expect from Tarantino: colorful characters, brutal violence, great dialogue, brutal violence, salty humor, and brutal violence. But more often than not this all felt too comfortable for me, and too familiar. The dinner scene at Candie Land was a wonderful exercise in tension, almost as good as the bar scene in Inglourious Basterds. And the shootout reminded me of how excited I was to see Tarantino go wild in the bloodbath between the Bride and the Crazy 88 in Kill Bill Vol. 1.

Now I don’t want to sound like I didn't like this movie, because I did. But it is one of the few entries to Tarantino’s oeuvre where I felt just how long it was. It would be easy to point to the passing of Tarantino’s longtime editor Sally Menke as the reason and, while I don’t deny that, I think Tarantino is in a place where no one can tell him he should be self-editing, not even someone like Harvey Weinstein. So what we’re left with is a sloggy middle, an unnecessary scene explaining why Broomhilda is named Broomhilda, and a final 20 minutes that probably should have been written out all together.

Whatever...

I’ll still take lesser Tarantino over pretty much everything else, any day of the week.

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