Django Unchained

Django Unchained ★★★

Not among Quentin Tarantino's best, in my opinion, but not terrible. It's great to see a movie that doesn't follow convention, and DJANGO UNCHAINED certainly doesn't feel like most movies at the cineplex these days. I liked the unpredictability of the script, and the fact that it seems in no hurry to tell the tale that it wants to tell. Though there were many good scenes and quality performances, it definitely felt like it could have been tighter and better.

Jamie Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio were pretty good. Christoph Waltz was good because he is a very good actor, but honestly his part felt very reminiscent of his character from INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS. Samuel L. Jackson certainly throws himself into his role and manages to be quite entertaining.

Django himself seems a curiously passive hero. Other characters seem to do a lot more more to move the plot forward, and Django is mostly along for the ride. It was hard to get to know Django too. Maybe Tarantino was going for a Clint Eastwood "man with no name" vibe, since Jamie Foxx has very limited dialogue, but unfortunately the result is a character that is hard to get to know and sympathize with. A lot of the scenes in the film are basking in Django's coolness, which doesn't feel completely earned.

The pretty much constant attempts at humor also serve to undercut any notion that this takes place in a serious reality. I also felt that there were geography and plot problems near the end, where it was difficult to know where the characters were in relation to one another. Style goes ahead and replaces logic at those points, and it becomes more self consciously a "movie" than a self contained story of a person in the real world.

One more thing: Tarantino really drops the ball by doing a useless late cameo where he is practically the only male character in the entire film that doesn't have a single whisker of facial hair.