Film review: Django Unchained

Kassandra Mitchell, Contributor Ω

Django Unchained stars Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz as slavery-era bounty hunters in the southern United States.

Django Unchained stars Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz as slavery-era bounty hunters in the southern United States.

Released on Dec. 25, 2012, Django Unchained is an American western film by Quentin Tarantino starring Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson, Kerry Washington and Christoph Waltz.

Set in the deep south, recently “unchained” slave Django (Foxx) is freed from his captives by Dr. King Schultz (Waltz), a highly-skilled bounty hunter looking for three criminal brothers. In order to capture them – dead or alive – Schultz needs Django to help identify them. They soon come to an agreement – they will work together as bounty hunters and when the winter ends, Schultz will help Django rescue his wife (Washington) from the tightly-guarded plantation of “Candyland.”

The pair thus begins their bloody, bullet-ridden adventure; finding the villainous brothers Schultz has been looking for and developing what they believe to be a fool-proof plan for entering the infamous Candyland and freeing Django’s wife.  When they arrive, plantation owner Calvin Candie (DiCaprio) and his trusted house slave, Stephen (Jackson), soon become suspicious of their new guests and the battle begins.

The follow-up to his critically-acclaimed film Inglorious Basterds, Tarantino tackles yet another controversial subject from humanity’s dirtied past – this time choosing the topic of American slavery. Tarantino has become notorious for his ability to take highly sensitive subject material and provide stylized, yet intelligent commentary. He successfully adds another film to his roster with Django Unchained.

From DiCaprio’s humorous depiction of Candyland’s owner to Foxx’s solid delivery of the enslaved Django, all the flick’s stars do a good job. Washington’s role as Django’s wife could easily have used more character development – at some points you’re left wondering why all the fuss over a woman who has barely uttered a word. However, the film’s true star is Waltz. From the first scene, where he frees Django, to the very end, when he duals Candie, Waltz ensures his character is believable, hilarious and instantly likeable.

Tarantino’s famous style is clearly evident and each actor delivers a strong take on their individual roles – tackling sensitive issues like racial ignorance and bigotry, while still producing an exciting tale of adventure. Racial slurs are dropped at will and although at times it feels redundant, Tarantino does a solid job of navigating through.

In true Tarantino fashion, blood, guts and gore are sure to be seen, with Django rifling through dozens of men in mere seconds.  In the end, fans looking for the same witty dialogue and bloodied gun scenes that Tarantino is known for are sure to be impressed. Those wondering if the film holds a flame to its predecessor Inglorious Basterds can be assured that it indeed does. Overall, it’s an action-packed film with a clever script and an excellent cast.