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Django Unchained

Starring: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L Jackson, Kerry Washington, Walton Goggins, Don Johnson, Dennis Christopher, James Remar, Nichole Galicia, Tom Wopat, Quentin Tarantino, and more.

Directed by: Quentin Tarantino Written by: Quentin Tarantino Cinematography by: Robert Richardson

Premise: A bounty hunter is needing information about three brothers, so he stops the chain gang Django is part of in order to try and get it. Things don’t go as expected, and Dr. Schultz ends up liberating Django from his current owners. He offers Django a job and once it’s done, he will set Django free. Later, impressed by Django’s unexpectedly good shooting skills, Schultz asks Django to partner up with him for the winter and in return he will help him track down his wife, who was sold away. (Rated R)

Review:

1) Acting – Total Thumbs Up: Jamie Foxx gave a good performance as the slave turned bounty hunter Django. Christoph Waltz added a lot of flavor to the film with his fun performance. Leonardo DiCaprio was intense as Monsieur Candie, showing all that was good and bad of plantation owners. Samuel L Jackson did a great job as both comic relief and story twist. Seeing Don Johnson again was a lot of fun. He seemed very much at home playing Big Daddy.

2) Special Effects – Thumbs Up: All the things viewers expect from a Tarantino film were present – mainly bullets, explosions, and tons of buckets of blood. The big battle scene saw close up bullet wounds, flesh piercings, and a lot of screaming.

3) Plot/Story – Thumbs Up: In most Tarantino films plot is normally something thrown along to string the action scenes along in films such as these – so it was a nice surprise to see this one try for more. While a lot of the events were what one might expect, there were still several unexpected surprises, which was fun.

The story, however, did suffer at a couple of spots as the audience is yanked out of the current event to do a quick flashback to some comedic bit of information. Though the bits on their own might be funny, they totally destroyed the rising tension or disrupted the story’s flow, basically making them not worth while.

That being said, there were other spots where the tension build up was masterfully done or the scene itself set up in a very fluid manner. Sadly, the few hiccups marred the overall experience.

One item that grabbed me hard was a side character that was shown two or three times, yet she seemed so unusual and out of place I kept thinking it had to mean something but it didn’t. It was a woman at Candie Land, who dressed like a man and wore a red bandanna across her face. Her presence was even weirder when they showed the dog handlers at home and she was in the back looking at a 3D photograph of the Parthenon. Yet unless it was some kind of inside joke, it had no value. So it detracted and jarred rather than add to the film.

The beginning of the “Django Unchained” had a very 70’s feel. A lot of the music very 20th century fare, yet most fit and at times even added to the scenes they were played in. So nice job there.

4) Stunts – Total Thumbs Up: Whether it was falling from horses, being shot by their own people, getting pinned by horses, or having extra pieces of themselves blown up or shot off – the stunt department did some great work in the film.

5) Locations/Cinematography – Total Thumbs Up: The film was full of great locations. There was good contrast between the small town in Texas, what we saw of the slave depot in Mississippi, and Candie Land. The great locations also gave way to some great cinematic shots as well. The giant tree over the small family cemetery and the sunset behind it won’t soon be forgotten – utterly lovely.

6) Costuming/Makeup – Total Thumbs Up: The period clothing looked great. It varied from area to area and even by nationality, which was a nice touch. It also served to easily allow the audience to tell the different standings of both blacks and whites.

Conclusion: If you have enjoyed previous Tarantino films, you should be quite happy with this one. The film is longer than you’d expect, clocking in at 165 minutes. But since the story was decent and held several surprises along the way, it won’t seem that long. Be warned though, there are several disturbing scenes, so I would very much caution against taking younger viewers to see it.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)

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