Tuesday 15 January 2013

Django Unchained [2012]

The much awaited Django Unchained, Tarantino’s eighth film in two decades, is not anything if not a Tarantino-film, despite it being his first tryst with Westerns. With its protagonist’s name and opening song borrowed from Sergio Corbucci’s iconic Spaghetti B-Western Django, this is an ambitious (in terms of scale), unabashedly violent, genre-bending and deliriously entertaining work of love. The revenge and rescue story is about Django (Jamie Foxx), a freed slave during the Civil War era, who, with the training and help of a smooth-talking German bounty-hunter (Christopher Waltz), goes about saving his wife from the harem of slaves of Calvin Candie (Leonardo Di Caprio), a wealthy cotton plantation owner. Interestingly, instead of the nefarious white slave-owner, the bigger foe for the protagonist turns out to be one of his fraternity so to speak – the slimy head-slave of Candie (Samuel L. Jackson) and one of the most loathsome character imaginable. Restraint has never been one of Tarantino’s qualities. So, understandably, the film wasn’t without its fair share of “fat”. But, at the same time, it was his propensity for cheeky humour and over-indulgence that also laced the film with a number of inspired moments – the scene involving the bunch of nincompoop Klu Klux Klan members was particularly hilarious. An African American cowboy or a rap song accompanying a brutal carnage, were quintessential Tarantino. The sudden zoom-ins and zoom-outs, the grand outdoor vistas, and the high-octane gunfights were added bonuses. Waltz and Jackson provided spectacular turns, while Di Caprio was good too, and the eclectic soundtrack, comprising of both originals and covers, and traversing across various genres, was quite brilliantly designed.

Director: Quentin Tarantino
Genre: Western/Revisionist Western/Action
Language: English
Country: US


Jon said...

I guess I'm one of the detractors on this film. I thought it was more of the same from Tarantino. I was expecting more from it. It didn't seem as edgy or interesting as Basterds, was not as well written as Pulp Fiction, and Kill Bill had better setpieces. I like Tarantino, but I was strangely bored by this film.

Shubhajit said...

It certainly isn't anywhere as good as Pulp Fiction or Reservoir Dogs, my 2 favourite Tarantino films. Basterds, too, I felt over tad over-indulgent at times, though I'd liked it overall - and the same was my reaction to this. But yes, I do agree with you on the sense of repetitiveness with his films in terms of tone & style, though, since he doesn't make films too regularly, his films have till now managed to retain their sense of fun & entertainment for me.

Sam Juliano said...

LOVED LOVED LOVED this film!!! For me it is the best Tarantino hands down, and both the most stylish and humorous. Great set pieces, engaging story, and buffo performances. Easily one of the most entertaining films of 2012. The send-up inspiration reminded me of BLAZING SADDLES in some ways. Terrific assessment here Shubhajit!

Shubhajit said...

Yes Sam, I'm well aware of your love for the film. In fact, it also featured very highly in your year-end Top 10 list. And yes, there's no questioning its incredible entertainment quotient. Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm for Tarantino's latest display of craziness.

sitenoise said...

Hey! Where can a guy get a top-ten of twenty-twelve around here?

Shubhajit said...

Haha. Well, there are quite a few other acclaimed films of 2012 that I haven't watched so far. Hence I haven't made such a list yet. But, of the cuff, my favourite films of the year would be:

1. Amour
2. Killing Them Softly
3. Holy Motors
4. Like Someone in Love
5. Beyond the Hills
6. Zero Dark Thirty
7. Django Unchained
8. Something in the Air
9. Gangs of Wasseypur 2
10. Argo/Life of Pi/Shameless

Chris said...

Thanks for the top 10 in the comments (: Never heard of Shameless, who directed it?

Shubhajit said...

It is a Polish film directed by Filip Marczewski. Here's the link to my review of the film -


By the way, my Top 10 for 2012 has changed a bit in the meantime. No & The Master have found places in the list, after Amour & Holy Motors, respectively.