Movie Review: Django Unchained

Director Quentin Tarantino puts his own brand on those “spaghetti westerns” of the 1960s with his latest creation, Django Unchained.  His movie uses a lot of the visual and audio touchstones from these early films (the titles, the music), but he updates the entire affair with improved technology, new music and better character development.

Jamie Foxx plays the title character, who is liberated from a slave chain gang and given his freedom on the condition that he help his bounty-hunting benefactor, Dr. King Schultz (a truly spectacular Christoph Waltz).  Django’s talent with a six-shooter is quickly recognized and nurtured by Dr. Schultz and they partner up with an agreement that they will find and free Django’s wife, who is the property of the wealthy plantation owner, Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio).

The body count quickly rises and the blood splatter reaches tsunami proportions, but there is an underlying levity (believe it or not!) and a clear understanding from all the participants not to take everything too seriously.  DiCaprio’s performance is especially over-the-top and fun to watch even when the bullets are flying.

The carnage may be too much for some women, even with its often cartoonish slant, and the language can be a bit jarring for the politically-sensitive among us, but the acting is all spot-on and there are many recognizable actors in smaller roles (check out Don Johnson!) that make the rather long running time (165 minutes) go by quickly.  Give it a “shot!”


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