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Django Unchained

The 2012 film by Quentin Tarantino

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The D is the only thing that's silent

  • Jan 3, 2013
I am not a Tarentino "fan", having only seen his last two movies, and both are five star classics.  Before I saw these movies, my take on Tarentino based on skimming critical reviews was that Tarentino films glorified violence and were cartoonish B-grade movies.

Neither description applies to Inglorious Basterds and Django.  What we're talking about here isn't history, its morality.  In Basterds, Tarentino ripped any semblance of respect from Nazism, and here, he takes on racism.  While few Americans today are affected by Nazism, we all are affected by racism.  Yes, racism remains, and may always because of the horror of race-based slavery.  Part of the power of this movie is that Tarentino doesn't flinch from the same effort of stripping away any shred of morality from racism, no matter how close to home it hits.  In both cases, he plays fast and lose with history (we can only wish Hitler had been killed the way he was in Basterds), but history isn't the point, the laser sword of black and white morality is the point, and exactly the point.

But this isn't a dull morality play, this is power film-making at its best, with great directing, writing, and acting.  Yes, the cartoonish violence is there, but it is important to note that the violence of master against slave is never portrayed in anything other than stark, painful violence.  The only time when Tarentino indulges his tendency toward the overblown is when the violence is toward the the enslavers, not the enslaved.  I found it powerful, profound, and disturbing at times (and also funny; history and morality have their ironies and oddities that can be bitterly and sweetly funny).  The extended scene at Leonardo DiCaprio's "Candie Land" plantation is dramatic small-scale filmmaking at its best, and the scene where a furious DiCaprio smashes his hand into an unscripted bloody mess left me breathless. 

All the major actors turn in performances that should earn nomination nods for Jamie Foxx for lead and Christophe Waltz and DiCaprio for supporting actors, along with Tarentino for director and the categories for movie, soundtrack, and cinematography.  Kerry Washington as Django's wife he hopes to rescue from Candie also gives a strong performance but doesn't have much screen time.   It would be disappointing to see the movie bypassed by awards bodies just because its a "Tarentino movie".  This is a movie people should see.

This movie roars with importance, violence, anger, humor, music, heroism, and love.  Its the best 2012 movie I've seen.  Although I haven't seen Lincoln yet, I expect it to be in the same class, but I would be surprised if it were better.   This is a movie movie people should want to see. 

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January 05, 2013
Could be?
More Django Unchained reviews
review by . December 27, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
A Mash of German Legend, Spaghetti Westerns, Modern Music, Samurai Flicks and Historical References.
When I saw Quentin Tarantino’s cameo appearance in Takashi Miike’s “Sukiyaki Western Django” (please see the original uncut of Miike’s movie before you judge it), I had a small hunch that the acclaimed director was about to go into something with the ‘western’ flavor (or so he states ‘southern’), and guess what, I wasn‘t far from wrong. Tarantino’s movies often become something to be anticipated, probably because of the fact …
review by . January 02, 2013
posted in Movie Hype
A German Bounty Hunter/Dentist played by Christopher Waltz (who we last saw in Inglorious Basterds) tries to buy Django (Jamie Foxx) from a slaver. The reason? Django can identify three brothers who Waltz is hunting for a bounty. Waltz lets Django know that if he goes with him and points out his bounty, he will free Django and pay him for his trouble.      Django agrees to Waltz's offer and Waltz can only get him from the slavers in dramatic fashion (reminicent of Gene Wilder …
review by . January 05, 2013
posted in Movie Hype
Django broke free of those chains, if only Tarantino could get back on his though.
For almost 10 years now, Tarantino has regaled us with his takes on his favorite genre of movies, the grindhouse karate and massacre exploitation variety.  This was fun for a while and while Tarantino is a skilled director and writer, this is really starting to get old hat since we have seen this before.  I'm about to take a line from Roger Ebert as tacky as that may be: "Now that we know what kind of movie Tarantino can make, it's time for him to make a better one."   …
review by . December 23, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Review: 'Quentin Tarantino creates an over the top funny, graphically violent, masterpiece (video)
'Django Unchained' Movie Review   By Joan Alperin Schwartz      Quentin Tarantino has done it again with this spaghetti style western.  'Django Unchained' is set in the South, two years before the Civil War.                                            &nb …
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Todd Stockslager ()
Ranked #65
I love reading and writing about what I have read, making the connections and marking the comparisons and contrasts. God has given man the amazing power to invent language and the means to record it which … more
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Movies, Western, Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Waltz, Leonard Dicaprio, Kerry Washington


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