Tarantino fans can rejoice at this latest installment from one of the most prolific writer-directors cinema has ever seen. A tour de force featuring all the usual Tarantino ingredients, Django Unchained is a cinematic success.
Starring a whole host of celebrated actors, including Academy Award–winner Jamie Foxx as the eponymous Django, the film tells the tale of a slave destined for greater things after being bought his freedom by the elusive yet meticulous bounty hunter Dr King Schultz (Christoph Waltz). Buying Django’s freedom on the condition he exposes and assists in the demise of wanted men, Dr Schultz obtains Django’s services as his assistant. This unlikely partnership, despite being a little eccentric (like many relationships between Tarantino’s creations), is not only entertaining, but on the whole it works: a freed black slave and a German bounty hunter track down America’s most wanted in 1858, two years before the civil war, when racism was at its peak.
After their success as bounty hunters, the two men decide to stick together as partners and continue to hunt the South for wanted criminals. Whilst Dr Schultz remains focused on his job, Django has an alternative motive to his work: tracking down his wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), whom he lost long ago after their attempt to run away together. Ultimately, the film leads us to Candyland, the infamous plantation run by the notorious racist proprietor, Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), who, flanked by his elderly house slave Stephen (Academy Award–nominee Samuel L Jackson), proves to be the deadliest foe the bounty hunters have come up against.
One hundred per cent typical Tarantino, Django Unchained accommodates all the winning formulae that fans of his films will be most accustomed to picking out: the scrolling text overlaying during scenes, the fantastic use of language and its deliverance (especially the monologues by Jackson, similar to those found in Pulp Fiction), and, of course, the blood-soaked shootouts.
However, Django Unchained isn’t just a gory story. Tarantino excels at portraying good and evil to such extreme lengths that in this Spaghetti Western film, the audience is really exposed to the horrors associated with slavery in that era. Tarantino says: “It can’t be more nightmarish than it was in real life […] It’s unimaginable to think of the pain and the suffering that went on in this country, making it perfect for a Spaghetti Western interpretation.”
Perfectly cast for their roles, Django Unchained features some of the most entertaining actors of our time. There is a good dose of humour, and an even more generous amount of gore, making this film unsuitable for the weak-hearted – a tell-tale sign perhaps is the 18 certificate this film has been given.
If there is one good film to kick start the New Year, Django Unchained would win hands down: another rambunctious masterpiece for Tarantino!
Django Unchained is released nationwide on 18th January 2013.
Watch the trailer for Django Unchained here.