Django Unchained

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Two recent articles detailed the possibilities of a single universe for all of the Pixar films and all of the Tarantino films. While they are interesting and plausible—in varying degrees—a world with Jamie Foxx’s Django would be incredibly different.

Former dentist turned bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) recruits a hardened slave, Django, to help him find three particularly decrepit criminals. In return, Django requires Schultz’s help in saving Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), Django’s wife, from sinister, charismatic plantation owner Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio).

The only negative to Django Unchained is the interminable length. It clocks in at a shade less than three hours and contains at least three plausible endpoints. Granted, Tarantino’s style helps alleviate the effect of such a grand running time, but three hours is three hours no matter how you slice it.

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With regard to the content of said three hours, Django is an absolute delight. Tarantino is famously a cinephile and it shows in his films. Django is no different. It is a perfect example as numerous genres are showcased in conjunction with standard Tarantino-esque styles. One thing you can always count on from a Tarantino film is a good time. Django may have raw, unfiltered scenes depicting one of the most deplorable times in American history, but you still get the sense the actors are enjoying their strong, well-written characters and everyone is generally enjoying themselves—even if they’re being whipped.

B+People have since bemoaned the lack of recognition DiCaprio received for his excellent portrayal of Candie. However, there is no denying that Waltz is the star of the film, despite his role as a “supporting character.” Tarantino has admitted to writing the role of King Schultz with Waltz in mind and there is no one that could have brought more from the role than him. He works well with Foxx and, in many ways, raises Foxx’s performance. After the first hour, I began focusing solely on Foxx during key scenes and, frankly, his performance could not have carried such an epic film without Waltz’s support.

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I will always hold that roughly thirty minutes could have been left on the editing room floor. Tarantino is predictable in that you know the end is not coming until ten to fifteen people are shot or brutally murdered. He decides to be unpredictable here and provides two or three different shootouts that could feasibly end the film.

Alas, he takes time to insert his own, terribly acted cameo. But I love the guy anyway for how authentic his movies come across with such blatantly overzealous gore.

Django Unchained is a great film. The faults are minor and there is enough here to truly enjoy the whole shebang. Even better, the story flows in such a smooth manner that you could easily take breaks and still start back up without any problems.

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