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


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


    Business Hubs

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