Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Film Review: Django Unchained (2012)

Django Unchained (Review) 
United States/2012 
Format Viewed For Review: Blu-ray (Weinstein Company/Anchor Bay)
Netflix Streaming: No 
Amazon Prime: No 

"...superb acting from DiCaprio and Waltz."

Texas 1858, Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) inquires the Speck Brothers about a slave named Django (Jamie Foxx), who he seeks for his bounty hunting business...  

Django Unchained starts by following Schultz and Django as they hunt the Brittle Brothers, whom Schultz needs Django to identify. After Django shows off his exemplary skills and his need for vengeance, Schultz invites Django to work with him for the winter; afterward, Schultz will aid Django in finding and rescuing Django's wife, Broomhilda. This leads them to Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) and the Candyland plantation. The story in Django Unchained is much larger, coming in at huge 2 hours and 45 minutes, but I don't want to drag the review with too many details. Django Unchained holds up for most of its ginormous runtime, and the ending is great. 

Django Unchained is a fantastic western film. The story blends action, humor, and drama very well. The use of these elements also helps in creating a very distinct western, as well as a very vibrant and lively world. Furthermore, thanks to the versatility of the story, it never seems to lose momentum for the bulk of its runtime. One moment I'll be laughing out loud at the cheeky humor, the next I'll be enjoying an extremely violent and stylized shootout; and it uses these different energies to keep the movie moving and the audience on its feet.                    
And, if that's not enough, the film is well paced and balanced through its use of character introductions; all of the characters aren't introduced at once, so characters like Calvin Candie and Stephen (Samuel L Jackson) appear with perfect timing to keep the momentum up. However, I did feel like the final act of the film did lose some momentum – instead of using some cheeky humor or a new character to liven the film, it opts for a longer action sequence – I love the action, but it just feels like it doesn't know when to end.  

The acting is superb from the entire cast. Jamie Foxx's performance is fantastic. However, I feel as if Christoph Waltz and Leonardo DiCaprio fully dominated the screen – both actors are fully immersed into their characters and deliver stunning performances. Samuel L. Jackson's humorous performance also adds to the momentum and balance of the film. Although the music may seem out of place, I thought it was excellent; it really help differentiate the film from others in the genre. The cinematography is superb, as well. The costume and set design aid in creating the aforementioned vibrant and lively world. Writer and director Quentin Tarantino is ingenious; the film oozes with originality and style. 

Overall, I loved Django Unchained. I was thoroughly entertained. It may be excessively violent and even offensive to some, but I couldn't help but laugh and have a great time throughout most of the film. The finale loses some steam, but the rest of its aspects are exemplary – especially the superb acting from DiCaprio and Waltz. 
 Score: 9/10 
Parental Guide: Very strong violence and blood, and nudity.

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