Perhaps it’s wrong to say Django is a Tarantino hit, since he hardly has misses, but Django Unchained has become by far my most favourite of his films. I know people who claim Inglorious Basterds is his best work ever, but not in my eyes and definitely not in my opinion. Django Unchained has quite a cast, I was surprised to see Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson on the credits, since I went to the theatre knowing next to nothing about the film. I left feeling suddenly empowered and proud to have seen it as though somehow my presence there had changed the world. Perhaps it simply changed my own views of the world and I think it’s what Tarantino wanted in the first place.
But what is Django Unchained about? For those of you who like me kept away from trailers and reviews before going in to see it, it’s the tale of a young slave, named Django who becomes important in a world where his life’s worth was measure in dollars and a single event that seemed to matter very little has rippling effects that changes the world view of several people. As most Tarantino movies, violence is not spared, it starts with violence and it ends in violence, but it’ always justified and not done to with the single purpose of being gory. We see a facet of the old United States that most movie makers choose to hide or pain in a more favourable light, but nothing her is sugar coated. You see slavery as it was, a constant struggle for survival, a way of life that teaches people not to live, but to simply make it from one day to the next.
Django is played by Jamie Foxx, who I had not expected to truly “rock it” like he has. He makes you believe in his character, in everything he says or does, bringing to life a man many had wished they could be, a man that fights for honour and freedom, even if he sometimes chooses less honourable paths to achieve them. He’s joined by Cristoph Waltz (best known to Tarantino fans as Col. Hans Landa) who portrays a German bounty hunter, hell bent on bringing justice to a broken world. His motivations are slightly more complex than that, but you’ll have to discover that on your own. Still, he plays the role of a man that loathes slavery and does random acts of kindness simply to right the wrongs of the world majestically. Jamie Foxx might be the star, but Christoph Waltz is a scene stealer, making this movie his own for the better part of it. He and Django are brought together by coincidence, but they stay together due to an unbreakable friendship that for once, in a movie is shown developing rather than simply being thrown at the viewers with the expectation of them to believe it. It’s why the movie is so long, almost 165 minutes, but worth every single one of them.
DiCaprio, who plays a villain this time is joined by Samuel L. Jackson who is hard to recognize in his role as Stephen, a house slave that’s more than meets the eye, both of them bringing their talent to the table and helping create the image of a world in desperate need of change. The less developed in this movies are the villains, almost a caricature of what they could or should be, but that goes with the flow of the movie and with the fact the tendency to focus on the heroes, on the ones that do something good rather than wasting time trying to understand the villains who are nothing but cannon fodder more often than not. They are still useful at portraying the world of misery and pain that Django was born into and the world he was trying to survive into.
On my list of favourite things about this movie I have to list the soundtrack which is fantastic going from songs that match the period to hip-hop songs that accompany the scenes brilliantly. Adding every single element that makes Django Unchained together you get a fantastic film that’s worth every praise it got. This movie is a 10 and that’s only because I can’t give it 11, go watch it and you won’t regret it. However, if you’re squeamish, you might want to stay at home and watch something else, it can get a little bloody at times.