Django Unchained – Directed by the man himself, Quentin Tarantino

django_unchained_movie_poster_by_artoftu-d5pvahk-711x1024Man, there sure is a lot of cool art that is inspired by this movie, I found this poster on the second page of pictures when I googled it, and it makes sense – this is a movie that inspires creativity, because damn if it isn’t one of the most creative things I’ve seen in years. And of course it is, why would we expect anything less from Quentin Tarantino by now? I don’t even think I need to link you his name, you know who he is, unless you’ve been living under a rock for about the past 20 years. Pulp Fiction is probably the best disturbing movie ever made, and his penchant for making extremely-almost-to-the-point-that-its-comical violence explode off the screen has been around since his first (and probably still my favorite) movie, Reservoir Dogs. If you haven’t seen that one, for gods sake turn off this review and go buy it $4 at wal mart, and start there. Because I’m not entirely sure how one would handle everything that’s going on in this movie if you didn’t first have an idea of what kind of movies Tarantino sets out to make, because he is most assuredly a one of a kind film maker. And of course that’s a good thing. If we had ten more like him in Hollywood I’d imagine we wouldn’t get as much crap coming out like we do now – for gods sake, I linked you to the movie The Call there once, just watch the trailer for that pile of complete s***. It’s ass like that that gets released that makes me all the more thankful for Tarantino and his special brand of weird.

Django-Unchained-2 I’m pretty sure I could just populate this review with awesome art from the internet art nerds and you would all be ok with it. You would? Ok then. So anyways, we have this monster of a movie that Tarantino has apparently wanted to do a Western for quite a while, and some of the reasons for that are in this really cool interview with him that I found when I was obsessing about him after I saw this two days after Christmas. It talks about the various aspects of how to make a good Western, on which Quentin nearly nails all of them. Badass superhero like protagonist? Yep. Misson for revenge because someone wronged him and/or his wife? Of course. Evil bad guy with a charming air about him, to the point of you ALMOST maybe liking him in some scenes? Who better than the great Leonardo DiCaprio to play something like that. He even has a cool villainous name, Calvin Candie. But the real twist here, the sheer awesomeness of Tarantino, is that he added his own brand of crazy to this formula that would have already worked had it not had something like this, but because of its inclusion the movie is elevated to near classic levels – and I’m speaking about the walking, talking, shooting, nearly as hardcore badass as the main badass maguffin himself, Dr. King Schultz, played by Christoph Waltz, who you should already know about, but if you didn’t, you will now.

django-unchained-1c And not just because of my bigass picture here, either. So the character of King is pretty much unnecessary in a common Western, and here’s why. We already have the vengeful hero, a slave in the form of Django, who’s wife was taken from him and sold to another plantation. What better form of vengeance could there be than someone who was a slave? Of course he’s angry, of course he has more than enough reason to want to kill nearly every white man he comes across for putting him in this situation. But instead of him simply escaping his captors and going on a rampage, he is helped along by Mr. Maguffin, Schultz. And what a spectacular maguffin he is. You are probably yelling his name is KING stupid, NOT MAGUFFIN, WHAT DO YOU MEAN?! By now – and don’t worry, I’m getting to it. You see, King knows pretty much everything. He travels the country in his “dentist cart”, giant plastic tooth flopping over top of his wagon not withheld, and, he pretty much knows EVERYTHING. He is a bounty hunter, who magically produces documents for whomever he has killed, and never suffers any consequences for it. He is magically in the middle of some random forest at the beginning because he needs Django to help him track down two particularly valuable targets, who just so happen to be the brothers that were responsible for taking Django and his wife, Broomhilda (I’m serious, that is really her name in this – but in typical Tarantino fashion, there is even a reason for THAT). It is within the first 45 minutes that Django is rescued, the two become friends, and decide to spend the winter tracking down various bounties, since Django seems to have a certain skill at killing the white folk – again, what slave wouldn’t? The main reason I call King the maguffin however, is because he is the one who tells us what we are watching. We are watching a fairy tale that happens to take place in the slave ridden south. That’s probably never done before, it might have been, but hey, I don’t watch every movie there ever has been, although if life didn’t get in the way, I’d certainly give that task my best damn try I could until my eyes fall off. And King pretty much all but leans to the camera and tells us this when he tells Django about how is pretty much a hero from a german fable and hell, he even has his own Broomhilda, that’s the same name in the fairy tale yo! Hence the significance of her name. He tells us all of the things we need to know, and moves the story along wherever it needs to be, and Waltz does it in such an elegant and amazing way (you might even say he, he…WALTZ’s us there? eh, eh?) that you don’t even care that he’s a maguffin. If he’s a plot device, well then he’s just about the best darn tootin’ plot device there ever has been.

DJANGO UNCHAINED And then there’s this guy of course, who will pretty much never let you down in a movie. Come to think of it, I really don’t think he ever has. Well, I’m no longer a fan of Titanic, but, six times in a theater will do that to you. No for real, I saw it that many times, that really happened. But anyways – Candie is every bit the insane villain you want him to be. This scene in particular is disturbing and hard to watch, I won’t ruin anything for you, but that is another staple of Tarantino’s films – you are gonna be uncomfortable a handle of times when you watch them, he wants you to be. I’d imagine he’d probably even laugh at you if he saw you squirm in your seat. He’s a brilliant filmmaker, of course, I certainly hope I’ve established that by now – but he loves the ultra violence and doesn’t shy away from some downright ridiculous violent situations, and this movie is no exception. There is this scene, and pretty much the last 3rd of the movie is full of insane, blood splattering shootouts leading right up until the end. This is a revenge tale so naturally people are going to die, some in more interesting ways than others, I can’t ruin anything for you here as much as I would love to, because you need to see this movie.

django-unchained Before I get to talking more about the violent shootouts, because if there is one thing in movies that I truly love, its a violent shootout, we’ll talk about this guy. Because, here’s the truth my loyal readers – I don’t like Jamie Foxx. I really don’t. I don’t like that he thinks hes fancy enough to spell his name with two x’s, I think Ray was HIGHLY EXTREMELY over rated and there were MUCH better movies deserving your respect made in 2004 than that one, and for gods sake he had an awful TV show. I think that Denzel is a far better actor and for some reason Foxx almost gets more attention. But enough ranting, because – he is fantastic in this movie. THIS movie is his best role, by far and away, absolutely no contest. He is the hardcore badass, he is shocking in some scenes like he needs to be, and he shows us that this dude has RANGE. He shocks some of the people on screen in some scenes, and he will shock you too. He is brutal, he is violent, he is an awesome borderline anti-hero. I wouldn’t even be mad at an Oscar nomination for this performance, because as much as I love Waltz and his character, I’m not sure if a maguffin has ever been awarded an Oscar. First time for everything though, amiright? I had to gush a little about Foxx’s performance because like I said, I expected him to be the weakest link in this trio of actors, and instead he proved to be nearly the strongest.

And what else to say – oh, I cannot end this review without talking about a scene where I honestly yelled out loud in the theater. I didn’t care who heard me, I was so damn excited. Now, along with Tarantino’s genius for violence, dialogue, pretty much freakin’ everything, we also have his excellent choices in soundtrack. That definitely goes all the way back to Reservoir Dogs and of course we all remember some of the great stuff that played in Pulp Fiction, and Django Unchained has some amazing stuff in it, some of it produced just for this movie (a first with Tarantino), but one scene in particular….man. Now, lets get something straight here before I start getting too long winded – I love me some rap. I love the hip-hop. I am a bit of a rap fiend even, and I’m not even ashamed of it. So, when I tell you that, during what could be argued as the climax of the movie, during an extremely violent, blood and bullets flying everywhere scene, when an old Tupac Shakur song came blaring through the movie theater speakers, I don’t think its a stretch to tell you that I got chills. And I honestly yelled “OH, MY, GOD. IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING?! NO WAY. DUDE.” when I heard that. It is arguably the most memorable thing I’ve seen in theaters all of last year, and I still say AWESOME! to myself when I think about it. Spot on. When you think about how this movie is about slavery, overcoming that, black empowerment, etc, etc, etc, who better to establish that in a movie than Tupac Shakur? Absolutely incredible, the best choice you could make for a movie of this caliber. That’s it, I’m done gushing about this scene.

So Tarantino has done it here, most assuredly. I never thought anything would top Reservoir Dogs for me, but this one very nearly has. My one and only complaint is that it’s a bit overlong – by about, a half hour or so. This movie clocks in at nearly three hours, and it could have been done in oh, say, two hours and 15. But again, we expect this sort of thing from Tarantino anymore – he is a self-confessed self indulgent film maker, he started as a film nerd and he shows us that he still is on camera, and really, you can’t fault him for it. Why get mad at someone for wanting to hold on to their masterpiece just a few minutes longer? Because I think this IS Tarantino’s masterpiece, and unlike that OTHER guy who ended his movie 656 different times, I can’t hate on Tarantino too much for keeping this one running a little bit too long. It’s still a brilliant movie, and I hope it picks up at least a couple Oscars next month. Have I made my case? I think I have. Go see this one immediately.

 

The verdict – 4-stars

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