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


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


    Business Hubs

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