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

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

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