With a touch of exploitation, a hint of buddy comedy, and throwback to a spaghetti westerns story, writer/director Quentin Tarantino gives audiences a unique look into the Pre-Civil War days of the American South. The acting is great for the most part and the story is epic and intricate. While being a great movie, it is not without its faults.
Django, played by Jamie Foxx, is a slave that has recently been set free by a German bounty hunter named Dr. King Schultz, played by Christoph Waltz. They become partners and fast friends over the course of their work. When Django finds the whereabouts of his wife at the plantation of a sadistic, yet charming, Calvin Candie, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, he has to come up with a clever ploy to rescue her.
With Oscar winners of this caliber you would expect nothing less than great acting, and Christoph Waltz and Jamie Foxx do not disappoint. They play off each other incredibly well and their friendship adds a very believable chemistry. Leonardo DiCaprio shows a great deal of skill in being both incredibly smooth and at the same time chaotic and terrifying. While many others gave notable performances, those three actors stole the show with their talent going above and beyond.
The biggest question for this movie is why did Quentin Tarantino decide to cameo? His choice to use a bad Australian accent was also baffling. Samuel L. Jackson would have been an interesting character if he didn’t speak modern blaxploitation slang instead of the Pre-Civil war era speech. These sorts of changes are a bit jarring and it took me out of the movie with the change in tone. There is no reason for it and the bizarre desire to do so only puzzles me more.
The story is long and intricate. It weaves like a Kurosawa movie however there are times when it could have been trimmed for time and other scenes that are just humor for humors sake or training montages that could have been shortened. Either way, much of the time was skimmed by a text crawl mid movie. The movie could have used another trip through the editing room just to keep it taut and interesting.
Despite the flaws, Django Unchained is still a very great film. The acting is top notch and the story is a lot of fun albeit long. I highly recommend it if you are a fan of Tarantino’s other work or you are fan of the action or western genre. It is good to see such a great pool of talent working together to make something so interesting and original.