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


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


    Business Hubs

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