In the eyes of award nominations, this film proves that for a film to be “great”, it doesn’t need to be the big award winner. Django Unchained has been snubbed on so many levels compared to the other films released at around the same time, but this doesn’t mean it’s a bad film. Django Unchained is by far one of, if not, the best film of 2012.
The story touches on quite a sensitive subject for most people, which is slavery, mixed with a western style (some classing it as a black slavery western). But the pure genius of it all is what Quentin Tarantino was able to do with this subject, that only he could do to make it work. Beginning with the Oscar winner for Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds, Christoph Waltz plays the charming, yet deadly, German dentist, turned bounty hunter, Dr Schultz, who also has a way with words, with his subtle, charismatic, yet tender tone of voice (as always). According to plan, he creatively intercepts a chain of slaves and makes the offer to buy Django (Jamie Foxx) (who has knowledge of a gang of 3 white men that Shultz is hunting). Without much of a fight (you’ll see why) he succeeds.
After a hefty entertaining hour, and Django’s taste of freedom, the film slows down for a bit when we are taught about Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) aka Django’s wife, who he was separated from. Recognizing the name, Dr Schultz makes a pact with Django that he will help to track down his wife and get her back. This takes them to the infamous plantation named Candieland in Mississippi owned by none other than the spoilt, southern racist Clavin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) where Broomhilda is being held. The excitement is then built back up again when they arrive at Candieland and we are introduced to the legendary Samuel L. Jackson, who plays the main slave-butler, Stephen, who is an extraordinary character in himself and probably one of the most memorable. As it is a Tarantino flick, expect a huge all or nothing shoot-out, walls being squirted with blood in what is the perfect definition of the ultimate blood bath… and yet the film doesn’t even end there.
Plucking on the plot a little, it is quite an interesting mixture. Slavery and the Western society isn’t something we get to explore very often, looking at it from a historic point of view. As it is a very sensitive subject, there are so many things about this film that could be classed as “wrong” in the eyes of some, but it’s also what makes everything about this film right. Yes there is slavery, violence, racism with quite a bit of racial slur (the N-Word is totally abused), but it’s not just about that. It’s also freedom, love and revenge. Tarantino makes it work by getting the balance between the serious issues, violence (to be honest the violence is not even THAT terrible) and high quality humour (which blows everything out of the window) absolutely correct, but it was only Tarantino who could have achieved this.
With these different elements mixed together, Tarantino had to get a fantastic variety of actors to make this film even more believable; however he never fails in this department. The bromance between Waltz and Foxx is very enjoyable. Waltz is like a bar of Galaxy chocolate. He is smooth, sweet and just makes everything better whereas Foxx is like the chocolate chip cookie made from Waltz’s chocolate-like substance. When it’s time to work, he’s all rough on the outside, but when he opens his mouth, he’s all gooey on the inside. DiCaprio’s portrayal of Candie, with that southern twang and racial slur, it’s hard not to notice the uncertain charisma he gives to Candie to make him the character we hate, but is interested in. The Character of Stephen, you’ll also learn to hate but can’t help but to enjoy because of the imagination Jackson puts into this character. He is a traitor of his “own kind” believing that even though he works for Candie, he is still above every other black person. He’s old, ignorant and stuck in his own ways, but only Jackson could make you enjoy his presence.
The whit of Waltz, the motive of Django, the pain of Washington, the ignorance of Jackson, the southern twang of DiCaprio and the brilliant soundtrack is what makes this film work so well to where you’d have to question what else could have been done?. Quentin Tarantino is a genius in his own right and this is bar far his best flick.