Django Unchained

Django Unchained ★★★★½

Think this is the most snappy and spicy dialogue that Quentin has ever written (aside from MAYBE the Basterds). Christoph and Leo are both giving some of my favourite performances I've ever seen and despite my praise for Tarantino's comparatively restrained approach for OUATIH, it's beyond fun to see him hold absolutely nothing back with all the insane snap zooms and whooshing sound effects and terrific body humour. People don't just get shot in Django Unchained, they get blown into oblivion. Blood explodes in every direction all over the walls and their bodies launch backwards like human cannonballs. It's really over the top and excessive in just about every conceivable way, from the outfits to the music to the violence, to the performances. Everything is in service of being maximally entertaining and it ends up being just that.

As a small aside, I've always had trouble reconciling the brutality and cruelty of some scenes in the movie with the comedy and entertainment. The "Mandingo Fight" scene particularly has always rubbed me in an odd way. I love that Quentin doesn't hold much back in his depiction of the brutality that these poor men and women were subject to, but Leo's hammy performance during the scene (which is absolutely terrific in its own right) feels at odds with the more serious purpose of the scene. I think I've warmed up to the scene over time just because it's important to recognize that regardless of how it worked out, I think the intentions of the scene were perfectly admirable. I don't even hate the scene, as it contains much to love when partitioned, but it always feels a little awkward to me.

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