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


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


    Business Hubs

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