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


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


    Business Hubs

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