Django Unchained

Django Unchained ★★★★½

Adult supervision is required.
-Calvin Candie

Quentin Tarantino is one of a handful of directors that I'll pay to see their movies in theaters no matter the review or appeal of the film. With that said however, I actually love westerns and proudly have Sergio Corbucci's original Django in my Blu-ray collection. On top of all that you add the fact that seeing a good western, change that, seeing ANY western in a theater is extremely rare now and it becomes obvious that I'm going to have a hard time not being one-sided when it comes to this film.

Now this isn't just Tarantino's take on the western, or simply his take on the spaghetti western either. More specifically it is his take on the Corbucci style of spaghetti westerns. You'll probably see Sergio Leone's name mentioned in a lot of Django Unchained reviews, and he is clearly one of the influences, but this film is clearly much more in the style of Sergio Corbucci not only because of the Django name, but in it's style, story structure and violence. Leone was more about the build up to the violence while Corbucci, not as talented a director mind you, reveled in the violence and bloodshed.

Jamie Foxx makes an excellent lead as Django in this blood soaked revenge tale and it's not because of a lack of talent on his part that a lot of scenes are stolen by his costars, it's simply a case of having an incredibly talented cast backing you up. Being a western revenge film though, it's never the protagonist that is the most colorful character anyways, but Foxx still has several memorable moments in the film and in fact probably ranks among his best performances of his career.

The first scene stealer of course is Christoph Waltz. As unlikely as it was before Inglourious Basterds, Waltz has become the perfect vessel for Tarantino dialogue. Just like Basterds, every line from Waltz is pure entertainment as the bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz. There's several scenes in the film that came off as extremely memorable to me, just after one viewing, that I don't think would have been as impactful with any other actor then Waltz.

I've mentioned this to friends before, I'm certain that Leonardo DiCaprio made a bucket list years ago of the greatest directors working that he wanted to collaborate with. If you look at the greatest directors working today, the number that haven't worked with DiCaprio is dwindling fast and of course now he can check Tarantino off that list. Here not only does DiCaprio give a fantastic performance, but it's probably the most memorable character he's played so far in his career.

Samuel L. Jackson's chemistry with DiCaprio isn't only great, but unexpected. It's cinematic moments like this that I love, when two great actors work together for the first time and it not only meets your expectations but exceeds them. It's not only their performances together, but the dynamic of their character's relationships. I won't mention what I think it means now, but notice how these characters act in front of other people and then in a key scene alone together.

I haven't even mentioned the over the top violence yet. It is there and there's plenty of it. Just like special fx in a sci fi movie though, the film isn't good because it's there, but it does add to it's overall appeal. Even though it's in abundance from beginning to end, the thing that sticks with me the most over 24 hours after seeing the film is the incredibly entertaining dialogue and performances by everyone involved. That of course comes as no surprise from a Tarantino film. So in case you haven't figured it out yet I loved the film from it's first scene with the original Django theme right up to it's post-credit scene. It really is a film that no one else was going to make and I'm thankful Tarantino did.

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