hanging-out-logo

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


Tags

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

Archive

    Business Hubs

    Tuareg Productions LTD
    Hub Space
    Hub Space
    Hub Space
    Hub Space
    Hub Space
    richmix
    saint-martins-college-of-arts-design
    xclusive-touch
    Hub Space
    Hub Space
    Hub Space
    xnew-art-exchange
    kent-creative
    ace-cafe-london
    xclusive-chauffeuring