Movie Review – Django Unchained

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django-unchained-poster-final Jamie Foxx gives a stellar performance as Django, a slave after being separated from his wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington). They were sold separately because their master did not like that they were married and then tried to runaway. He is purchased by Schultz the Bounty Hunter (Christoph Waltz) because the 3 men who beat and branded his wife which effectively prevents her from being a house slave anymore are wanted criminals but Dr. Schultz has no idea what they look like. After tracking down the 3, the pair stay together as a team getting more bounties with the plan for Django to find out who bought his wife so he can buy her back. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Calvin Candie the owner of one of the most famous plantations in the south. A large part of the film is about them getting invited to Candie Land. Just walking up and buying Broomhilda is practically impossible without a plan and a ruse. Samuel L. Jackson plays the head slave Stephen at Candie Land and the fact that he doesn’t even appear in the first 90 minutes doesn’t detract from how assume and hilarious he is. He’s menacing, clearly Calvin considers him his equal and what he tells Calvin proves he controls everything.

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There are some great scenes in this movie and some where I had tears streaming down my face. Don Johnson plays the owner who is surrounded by female slaves who love living there. Jonah Hill appears completely unexpected during the attempt to go hang the pair in an early clan riot. Hilarious is when they men have this massive fight over the pillowcases they have on their heads with irregular eye holes. I was in tears during this scene. The guy who’s wife made the cases is totally thrown under the bus where her husband defends her. When Schultz and Django arrive at Candie Land and Calvin tells Stephen that they will be staying at the big house, you get the Sam L you know and love going off about the idea of a freed slave staying in the big house.

Even with a stellar casting there was something about this movie that I didn’t quite get. I think I walked into it with the wrong expectations. I was expecting the insane amount of blood, bullet holes and carnage. I was expecting great acting, I was expecting copious amounts of the N-word, but I didn’t expect to laugh so hard I was in tears. I expected to see slavery not all dolled up and in truth its not. You see that some slaves have it better than others sure. There’s so much controversy over this film and its mainly about the subject matter or the N-word, but what I noticed is you can see that with his long time editor some part of this movie don’t blend as well. Its also about 30 minutes longer than it needs to be. I didn’t grow up with Cowboy movies. In fact I can’t say I’ve seen more than a handful ever but I’ve seen a few episodes of Gunsmoke. Not having the idea behind spaghetti westerns might have been one of the reasons it felt a little disjointed or not. I still enjoyed the hell out of this film for the comedy value alone. Its not the best thing I’ve seen this year. Its barely in my top 10. I’d give it acting awards well before I’d put it in the Best Picture category. Its still very much worth seeing. 

Release Date: December 25, 2012
Studio: The Weinstein Company
Director: Quentin Tarantino
MPAA Rating: R
My rating: Matinee

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