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

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

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