Saturday, 9 February 2013

235, Django Unchained

If Quentin Tarantino does one thing very well, its divide opinion.  From Pulp fiction and Reservoir Dogs to Kill Bill and Inglourious Basterds he continues to break boundaries in modern cinema. 

All his movies follow some form of routine - you can expect swearing, blood, violence and a mostly sublime script that's almost always fast paced and eloquent enough to captivate audiences, finalised with some form of mentally brutal scene that brings you back in the room with a thud.  That's all normal, what you don't expect is a 'laugh out loud' comedy from start to finish mixed in with all of the above.

But that's exactly what you get from Django.

Firstly - lets highlight the true brilliance that is Christopher Waltz.  Playing the absolutely terrifying Nazi Hans Lander in Inglourious Basterds, (Tarantino's last movie in 2009) Waltz now returns as the very comical Dr King Schultz - a Dentist come Bounty Hunter who in all honesty, delivers some of the best lines I've ever heard in recent years and Waltz's flair in the presentation really make this performance a marvel to behold. 

For a character who doesn't agree in the slave trade, Schultz feels all should be treated equally - instantly singling him out from the other 'white' folks who take full pride in their control over the serving hands that include our own hero - Django (Foxx)

The story starts with Schultz in his quest to find three brothers and take them out for his required Bounty, learning that Django as a previous slave to the brothers can identify them in a crowd he enlists his help (after spectacularly taking out his current captors) and promises him his freedom once his mission is complete.  Quite early on the brothers are located and exterminated however, with a sort of mutual friendship now in place they decide to carry on as partners, working across the southern states of America picking off wanted criminals as and when they choose. 

It's only when Schultz finds out that Django's wife, Broomhilda (named by her German foster parents before she became a slave) was being held at Candie Land (one of the largest known plantations - owned and managed by Calvin Candie / DiCaprio) does his national pride kick in as the story of Broomhilda (a famous German folk tale about a quest for true love) is one he cant walk away from and promises they will head to Candieland and free Django's true love - how romantic! 

DiCaprio himself is utterly fantastic - he plays the Southern twang with such flair and brilliance and is fast becoming a far better mature actor as he was in the early days.

There are fantastic cameos all throughout this - one of the best being Don Johnson's brilliant portrayal of what could easily be defined as a Colonel Sanders doppleganger (from KFC fame) and a brilliant K.K.K scene where the issue of badly made hoods with the eye holes in the wrong places manage to hook the audience in for almost 10 minutes of constant hilarious one liners.

Keep an eye out for an ex Duke of Hazard and an extremely made-up Samuel L Jackson as Candie's house Butler, Steven - who is almost as much to blame for the ill treatment of the slaves as Candie is himself and someone who gets a fair comeuppance.

Foxx is brilliant - quite unassuming and down trodden early on but growing in confidence as the movie progresses and progress it does from full on comedy to epic blood bath that would rival any of Tarantino's greatest hits to date.

To finish I feel it necessary to warn you of the level of language - being about the slave trade in the southern states there are plenty of 'N' words being banded around - 150 (ish) times if I'm not mistaken and Tarantino himself states its 'part and parcel' to the movie.

Considering the setting and the theme, I have to agree with him.  This is what would have been said and used at the time and the fact that this movie itself has a slave hero and an accomplice who's against the trade plus a finale where very few white people make it out alive you wouldn't be forgiven for absolutely loving this movie - regardless of language content.