Django Unchained

Django Unchained ★★★★★

"Now bright boy, I will admit you are pretty clever. But if I took this hammer here and I bashed it in your skull, you would have the same three dimples in the same place as old Ben."

Bloody, bold and undeniably stylish, Django Unchained is another savage work of art from Quentin Tarantino, grounded by an insanely strong ensemble and sharp writing. Jamie Foxx leads the all-star cast with a restrained, yet surprisingly solid performance as the film's protagonist, Django. Given the infamous parallel between singers who make the bad jump from music to acting, it's remarkable that Foxx manages to pull off such a stoic performance. He's outshined by his co-stars no doubt, but that's more so due to how good they are in the role and not because of his lack of talent and proves he's capable of more dramatic chops. Christoph Waltz is also memorable as the sympathetic bounty hunter he comes across, mostly down to how well Waltz settles into the role and instantly imbues his character with plenty of dignity and confidence while never losing sight of the more empathetic personality brimming beneath the surface of him. Samuel L. Jackson gives an unexpectedly entertaining, if brief performance as a servant, and he certainly makes the most of what he has, stealing the scene with Jackson's complete transformation into the role. But perhaps the most notable performance among Django's party comes from Leonardo DiCaprio himself. From the moment he appears, DiCaprio's smooth speech and unpredictable nature makes him an unsettling but somehow compelling character to watch as things play out and while he's somewhat restrained throughout the film, it's in the film's finale that DiCaprio explodes into sheer intensity and a sudden violence that contradicts everything we've seen of him before. Django gets off to strong start and like, all of Tarantino's finest movies, it instantly sets the tone for what to expect as the film progresses. We've seen plenty of stories of redemption before, but the one presented in Django Unchained is perhaps unlike any other. Part of this is due to how consistently well written it is, but it can also be attributed to the film's nod and unique Western setting that gives it a fresh feel. Not only that, but Django Unchained approaches the theme of slavery itself in its own way, completely flipping the script by giving Django, the slave, a role that allows him to be the undoing of that particular subject, a welcome change of pace, given how many slave films have been released over the years reminding us of the subject. Django moves quite fast and it never drags for too long. To top it all off, it ends in a perfectly Tarantino third act, giving the minority the hero they deserve without feeling like a piece of forced propaganda, which Hollywood is guilty of as of late. As always, it's Quentin Tarantino's bold direction that ultimately carries this film all the way to the finish line, offering a fresh new perspective on a genre people are surely tired of seeing, and while it won't be for everyone, of course, the witty dialogue and stylish aesthetic makes it an absolute blast for anyone who does enjoy it. The music composition is undeniably memorable and perfectly sets the tone for the sequences on the screen while never being too distracting. Django Unchained is the film we need, especially in this day and age, and even without that, it's still an absolutely entertaining film that every Tarantino fan must see. -

Final Grade: 9.5 / 10

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