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

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

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