Django Unchained (2012)

by British Film Critic

This film is such a fabulous showcase of how powerful a director’s, or more specifically, Quentin Tarantino’s impact can have on a film, with the infamous auteur keying in on almost all of the quirks he has become known for and stringing them together to make a film that is near peak Tarantino: a heavily inspired soundtrack and score that is always utilised perfectly, animate, engaging editing choices, impressive camera-work, razor sharp and occasionally hysterical dialogue, an uncanny ability to blend tones, and much more, allowing QT to continue to deepen the unique genre that he has seemingly made for himself.

Django pulls out all of the stops when it comes to its performances, giving multiple career bests, in my opinion, with Christoph Waltz’s endearing performance as Dr. King Schultz and, my personal ‘favourite’, Leonardo DiCaprio as the terrifying, twisted plantation owner Calvin Candie – whilst everyone else, not limited to Jamie Foxx, Samuel L. Jackson and Don Johnson, delivers near equally brilliant performances, it is always clear that these two are the standouts of the film.

Although there have been many accusations of Tarantino as a racist over the years, and frankly I am not informed enough to make any conclusions, there is absolutely no denying that witnessing almost 3 hours of unabashed black vengeance in its purest form is one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever experienced on screen, and a narrative of that type works harmoniously with Tarantino’s overly violent, bloody and profane direction – the way that QT translated a slave revenge tale into the Western genre was nothing short of genius, and the brilliance of the screenplay proves he was just the man for the job.

If someone who’d never seen a Tarantino film wanted to get into his filmography and get a feel for his direction, Django would probably be the first film I’d show them, with the auteur delivering pure and unbridled Tarantino goodness from start to finish, indulging just enough where it almost always feels perfectly overindulgent, making for easily one of Quentin Tarantino’s best.