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


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


    Business Hubs

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