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.

Recent Posts


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


    Business Hubs

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