Film Blog

Django Unchained

posted by the hanging out team - Thursday, February 07, 2013

 image is copyright of the Weinstein Company

The name Tarantino brings with it some expectation when walking in to a screening of one of his films. Apart from the inevitable controversy, trailers, and interviews (including a particularly toe curling channel 4 one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrsJDy8VjZk) announcing its arrival, the very fact that it carries the name Tarantino meant I went into that cinema screening with rather a lot of presumptions; it was going to be violent, bloody, frenetic, and over the top, and, well, I wasn’t wrong.

‘Django Unchained’ is set in 1858 in the America’s Deep South just before the abolition of slavery. It’s a period in American history which seems to be getting some cinematic attention recently (courtesy of Mr Spielberg as well as a certain presidential vampire hunter), but Django is a very different beast from them both. The film follows a former dentist, now bounty hunter, Dr King Schultz, who buys the freedom of the slave Django to help complete a job. Along the way, the narrative turns to revenge as Django, aided by the doctor, enacts his vengeance on those white racists who’ve abused him, his wife, and other slaves in numerous different and brutal ways.

‘Django Unchained’ has its entertaining scenes including a particularly comic one in which the Ku Klux Klan struggle with the shoddily cut eye holes in their home made hoods. There are great performances; a brilliantly vile Leonardo DiCaprio chews up the scenery and sneers as he does so as the slave owner and business man Calvin Candie, and Christoph Waltz does a decent job as Dr. King Schultz. The mix-tape like soundtrack of contemporary pop songs woven in with the period setting works, and there are some tense moments, particularly in a scene round a dinner table, in which Dr Schultz and Django try to dupe the pernicious Mr Candie. The problem is these moments occur within a film which feels completely over-stuffed, and way over-long.

There are exciting, frenetic sequences of hyper, explosive, ‘watered-down-ketchup’ style violence where Django bloodies up his oppressors, but they sit uneasily with another type of violence. Slaves are tied up, whipped, abused, and ripped apart by dogs, and these moments don’t sit well alongside the stylized pulpy violence more familiar to Tarantino. Another irk of ‘Django Unchained’ is its use of racial epithets. The dialogue is peppered with that n-word, and contrary to the director’s claim, it doesn’t seem to me to be there for the purpose of historical accuracy (instead I imagine the gleeful grin on Quentin’s face as he wrote them in, “oh boy, oh boy, this is gonna make ‘em mad!”).

It’s unfortunate, because there is a better film in there somewhere, but ultimately ‘Django Unchained’ is too much; too long, and far too indulgent.

Showing now at Rich Mix cinema, click here for details.

By Nicholas Beer.
Trackback Link
Post has no trackbacks.

Recent Posts


Devyn A. Tyler Hanging Out short film true story 2013 Sundance Film Festival Django Unchained 50th Anniversary of Jamaica’s independence Steve McQueen Poster Rick Elgood Sean Paul Idris Elba screenwriter Ky-mani Marley Madonna Leonardo DiCaprio Illustrator Robot and Frank Britney Spears Adepero Oduye Sundance Film Festival Frank Langella long take Scoot McNairy Bill Pohlad Black Friday 1853 New Orleans Man of Steel Sean Bobbitt Bocage Michael K. Williams Zack Snyder Brixton Riots 2014 Golden Globes overseer Prometheus Chiwetel Ejiofor memoir Garret Dillahunt Slavery tricked Saratoga Springs Jamaica Paul Giamatti Bill Camp carpenter Bass One Love Cameron Zeigler Science Fiction violence Oscars Paul Dano Washington fieldslave novelist Cherine Anderson Patsey Henry Caville Richard Parker Bob Marley freedom Quentin Tarantino Jamie Foxx Ang Lee Robots of Brixton Ruth Negga Joseph Logsdon black man Michael Shannon America Shaggy nine Academy Award Peter Sarsgaard Rich Mix Jay Huguley Benedict Cumberbatch cotton Kibwe Tavares Deep South The Harder They Come Yvonne Deutschman Lupita Nyong'o Solomon Northup Christopher Berry channel 4 interview Magnolia historical Don Letts Louisiana Writer Zanzibar Factory Fifteen Trevor D Rhone Sarah Paulson John Ridley Wyclef Jean Robert Redford Superman HBO TV Elam Forrester Bethnal Green Jonah Hanging Out Project Michael Fassbender Dementia Felicity Sizzla 12 Years a Slave Russell Crowe African American Taran Killam Memory Loss Best Actor Dede Gardner controversy Slaves Anthony Katagas Kelsey Scott lynching Benghal Tiger Drama freeman Jeremy Kleiner 150 years ago Christoph Waltz Quvenzhané Wallis Rob Steinberg The Life of Pi Sue Eakin revenge Sly and Robbie Alfre Woodard CGI violent west end pub Kilburn Joe Walker Destrehan Dwight Henry film free North Best Director Regency Enterprises Stoker Hans Zimmer Michael Fanti United States Morgan Heritage marek tarkowski Best Picture best motion picture The Avengers British epic Brad Pitt Chris Chalk Platt drugged Arnon Milchan New York State Bob Marley’s son walk the line Fantasy Bryan Batt


    Business Hubs

    Tuareg Productions LTD
    Hub Space
    Hub Space
    Hub Space
    Hub Space
    Hub Space
    Hub Space
    Hub Space
    Hub Space