Brian’s Review – “Django Unchained” (2012)

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“With the help of his mentor, a slave-turned-bounty hunter sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner.”

Django Unchained

Rating –  8 out of 10

Tarantino has definitely brought credibility back to the “revenge” genre. His last three films were all based on that subject. “Kill Bill” was classic over the top samurai fun, Inglorious Basterds was the Jewish fantasy of being able to get back at the Nazis, and now “Django” again deals with the historical fictional revenge of what would happen if a slave was able to get back at his owners.

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A lot has been written about this film and little of it focused on its quality. Most of what I read was about its use of the N-word, its over the top violence, and its realistic depiction of torture towards slaves. All of what you’ve heard is true. It constantly uses the N-word, its violence is the most extreme yet for a Tarantino film, and its depiction of slave torture is gruesome and cruel. But, guess what? It’s also a hell of a film! Tarantino and Westerns were bound to cross paths at some point. All of his films have nods to spaghetti westerns, particularly Sergio Leone’s masterpieces. But, while he takes elements from the past, this is definitely an original piece of work with rock solid direction and a pitch perfect cast all the way around.

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Jamie Foxx hold down the lead just fine, Christoph Waltz is utterly brilliant, Leonardo DiCaprio will no doubt get an Oscar nod, and Samuel Jackson should win one. This is the best performance of Jackson’s entire career and you will develop a hatred for him unlike anyone in a film in some time. While DiCaprio’s slave owner is expected to be a cold and heartless piece of shit, Jackson’s turn as the Uncle Tom is really what will piss you off. The script is really terrific as well and I particularly like Tarantino’s use of time. There’s flashbacks and flash forwards several times to explain back story and they’re never confusing or superfluous. In fact, the first hour of the films is pretty damn near perfect.

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So, why not a 10? The middle section bogs it down a bit. There’s a very long stretch where we’re waiting to get to DiCaprio’s plantation that could have been tightened up significantly. There’s also a double ending(I’m trying to stay vague to avoid spoilers) that was fairly unnecessary. It is literally about 25 minutes of cut footage away from being damn near perfect because you really couldn’t ask for much better of a script and certainly not better performances. Highly recommended!

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10 responses to “Brian’s Review – “Django Unchained” (2012)

  1. Reblogged this on coolone160 and commented:
    Tarantino strikes again….

  2. Good review. I’ll be posting mine soon. Only I normally don’t use a star scale for judging movies.

  3. I can’t wait to see it actually – along with Cloud Atlas and Gangster Squad, it’s one of my top 3 to see for 2013!

  4. Great write-up man. It’s promising to hear of Jackson’s performance. Most of the limelight seems to be on Waltz and DiCaprio. I Amy wait to see this one.

  5. Very nice review. I, too, was absolutely bowled over by Samuel L. Jackson, who has really not been featured heavily in the discussion of this film. Jackson lives for Tarantino’s dialogue.
    The part of the film I’m still mulling over is everything after the handshake. The movie pretty much ended twice. Both were good, and I appreciate doing something different, but I still don’t know how it sits with me.

  6. Great review. I agree that it is a little slow in the middle, and that some prudent editing could have made it into a perfect 10. Waltz was amazing though, can’t wait to see more of him in the future!

  7. Great review. Jackson and Waltz are superb, quality actors working with a great script

  8. I look forward to watching this now. 🙂

  9. Finally getting back on my feet after a little hiatus, and what movie did I decide to take a stab at? Django, of course. And as usual, my views fall way – way – off the table but that’s no surprise! It looks like you’re in the general consensus of most Tarantino fans, and right on about the middle drag and the film overall being too long. Tightening it up would definitely help, but it just didn’t work for me – then again, Tarantino’s ship sailed without me pretty much with everything after Jackie Brown. Drop by and say hello, watch for the flames – cheers

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