A German bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) seeks the help of slave Django (Jamei Foxx) to locate three brothers wanted for murder, and in return Django is able to find and free his wife from evil and very rich plantation owner Calvin Candie (Leonardo Di Caprio)
Django Unchained is stylistically brilliant, the sets, costumes, props and even the stunts are fantastic. It has a Western feel to it but with a
contemporary twist. The soundtrack flits between authentic music of the time period to set the scene, and contemporary tunes to make it current. Choppy camera movements in an almost comic style are used to add drama, it gives it a very postmodern, and ultimately Tarantino, feel; while the subject of the film is very intense and serious these touches make the film enjoyable and keep the pace.
The performances are fantastic, it must be easy for someone like Tarantino to gather the best possible cast and that he does. Everyone from Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz as the two lead characters down to support acts like Walton Goggins are brilliantly cast. Jamie Foxx is a great, and somewhat underrated, actor and he plays the role of Django with the perfect mix of humility and charisma. In a typically Will Smith role, it’s refreshing to see a different actor take the reins and Foxx proves his acting ability and is hands down the best choice for the film.
Humour is something one wouldn’t necessarily expect from a film about the slave trade, but Django is bursting at the seams with witty, subtle and at times not so subtle humour. Christoph Waltz’s ‘Dr. King Schultz’ is hilarious from the off with a cleverly matter of fact way of speaking and a hilarious eccentricity. His performance arguably carries the entire film.
In true Tarantino style the gore and action is the highlight of the film, and doesn’t take itself seriously by any stretch of the imagination! Blood bursts from gun wounds comically and unrealistically again giving it that unserious feel that makes it so enjoyable. Despite being quite a serious film the unrealistic gore and other elements that make it seem highly contrived aid the Tarantino-style humour and allow audiences to enjoy something that is otherwise a very controversial and quite depressing subject. The overuse of the ‘N’ word, although abrasive is necessary in building a believable picture and making us understand the struggle of black people in those times. It also works quite well as a way to open our eyes to what actually happened; while of course the main action of the film is unrealistic, the setting and behaviour towards the black slaves is probably quite authentic. In amongst all the over the top action and humour there’s a serious undertone that is a real eye opener.
Tarantino gets a lot of stick about the violence in his films, people trying to push the blame onto the media for real-life violence, and using it as a scape goat for people’s bad behaviour. Django is no exception and is violent from start to finish, however for the most part that’s what people watch this film for and it would be disappointing if it were less violent. A funny, stylish, slick and enjoyable film Django is definitely one to watch.