Film review: Django Unchained (5 out of 5 stars)

Christoph Waltz and Jamie Foxx in Django Unchained.
Christoph Waltz and Jamie Foxx in Django Unchained.

When you go to a Quentin Tarantino movie you are very likely to be in the cinema a long time and there will be plenty of gory violence.

However, you will also have the chance to enjoy a director who isn’t afraid to try something different, who will inject humour among the carnage and who just loves making movies.

There is plenty of bloodshed and bone crunching in Django Unchained, so it’s not for the squeamish.

Plus, at heading near three hours long, it tests the audience’s stamina, although I enjoyed it so much time just flew by.

You might expect the film might drag at some stage, but Tarantino keeps the pace going well and is helped by some superb performances.

It’s a wonderful nod to those spaghetti Westerns of the 1960s and 70s with camera techniques from that era and even the Columbia logo at the very start is from that period.

There is also a great soundtrack, though, in typical Tarantino style, there’s even a couple of rap songs.

The story, set just before the American Civil War, sees slave Django (Jamie Foxx) linking up with German bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz), and the two embark on a mission to rescue Django’s wife (Kerry Washington).

That’s a very abbreviated synopsis, though, as on the way they encounter various outlaws and characters which allows for some interesting cameo appearances.

The funniest is Jonah Hill as part of a Klu Klux Klan group who are having problems with the eyeholes in their hoods.

Waltz is excellent as the self-assured bounty hunter who hates slavery.

Foxx, though, has the biggest role, growing from a surly chained-up slave to a feared free man.

The two work well in the main roles and hold the film together.

Plus, the introduction of other strong characters just keeps the impetus going.

Leonardo DiCaprio as slave magnate Calvin Candie is impressive, a powder keg of emotions ready to explode.

And Samuel L. Jackson as his ‘house slave’ gives one of his best performances.

But this wouldn’t be a Tarantino movie without a cameo from the director himself (a very good scene) and some other famous actors dropping by (Russ Tamblyn, Don Johnson and Bruce Dern).

Slavery is a tricky subject to deal with and Tarantino leaves us in no doubt just how dreadful this period of history was.

Overall, Django Unchained is Tarantino at his very best, backed up by a great story and superb performances.

Film details: Django Unchained (18) 165 mins.

Director: Quentin Tarantino

Starring: Christoph Walz, Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio

Screening courtesy of Cineworld Crawley

Steve Payne