Django Unchained: The Chains That Bind—Movie

Nothing says “Merry Christmas” like “Django Unchained.” I thought I’d be alone in the theatre Christmas Day, but no. My screening was sold out as was the one after it. I’m not sure what this says about us as a people. I like to think that it just says the group of Tarantino-lovers is larger than I thought and we don’t care when his movies come out…we will be there. Simply put—Tarantino’s “Django Unchained,” written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, is brutal, chilling, completely over-the-top and pure Tarantino through and through. I loved it!

Beginning with the opening credits, “Django Unchained” plays tribute to the old spaghetti-westerns—thematically and stylistically. Even the song at the start of the movie sounds like it’s been lifted from a Sergio Leone movie.

The film stars Jamie Foxx stars as Django, a recently purchased slave. He “meets cute” with German-born Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) in 1858 Texas. Schultz makes his real living as a bounty hunter and is in search of the Brittle Brothers, notorious slave owners, when he encounters Django. Django knows the Brothers and in exchange for helping Schultz capture them, Schultz promises Django his freedom. And with that we’re off to the races.

The two form a bounty-hunting partnership and head south—the ultimate goal to find and rescue Django’s German-speaking wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), sold and resold in the slave trade business. In their quest to find Broomhilda, Django and Shultz run into a whole host of unsavory characters–beginning with Big Daddy (Don Johnson, bearing a striking resemblance to Colonel Sanders) and ending with Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprioDjango_Unchained_Poster) and his head of house, Stephen (a barely recognizable Samuel L. Jackson). Candie is the current owner of Broomhilda,

Jamie Foxx is not actually called upon to do much acting, but he does bring just the right touch of intensity to his role. Kerry Washington’s Broomhilda has several harrowing scenes and she is terrific in them. Christoph Waltz, so great in Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds,” is even better in “Django.” He is the one constant in the film and has dialogue with nearly every single actor and is sheer perfection.

As good as Foxx, Washington and Waltz are, Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson steal the movie.

Funny, cruel and unhinged…this is a DiCaprio we’ve never before seen. Words can’t express how great he is. Simply amazing isn’t good enough. I don’t think DiCaprio has ever been bad and for my money is very underrated as an actor, but with this role and under Tarantino’s direction, he takes this performance to a whole new level. I can’t wait to see what he does next and I hope he has another project with Tarantino soon.

As Stephen, Samuel L. Jackson is the whitest black person the world has ever seen. His role is initially a quiet one, but you know that can’t last. This character is also very different for him and he makes the most of it.

“Django’s” cast is enormous (and some of the actors are so old and grizzled they are unrecognizable at first)…and at 165 minutes, so is the running time. But would I want to miss one second of the uncomfortably funny sheet scene with Jonah Hill  (billed as Bag Head #2)? No. Or one less word of the back and forth dialogue between DiCaprio and Waltz? A thousand times no!

As outrageous and crude as “Django Unchained” is, I don’t think it ever forgets the serious, abominable subject at the heart of the story—slavery. The positive about “Django” is that it doesn’t sugarcoat the awfulness and shame that slavery was. And thus, it doesn’t let the audience forget it either. “Django” may be at its best when German-born Schultz expresses his bewilderment and outrage at the practice.

“Django Unchained” is a Quentin Tarantino masterpiece and should not be missed.

4 nuggets out of 4


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3 Responses to “Django Unchained: The Chains That Bind—Movie”

  1. Violet Says:

    I saw the movie on Christmas day and loved it. I am glad to see you liked it to. I am one of the Tarantino fans as well.


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