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

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

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