The film takes place two years before the Civil War and stars Jamie Foxx as the slave Django. Django is purchased by a bounty hunter posing as a simple dentist played by the brilliant Christoph Waltz, who is on the hunt for the Brittle Brothers. The two form an unlikely partnership ending in Django’s freedom, thanks to Django being the only person who actually knows what the ruthless gang of killers look like.
Once the Brittle Brothers are quickly dispatched, the film quickly shifts gears and is the story of Django’s quest to free his wife, legitimately. We find she is currently owned By Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) who owns Candyland. Candyland is a plantation known not only for its beautiful comfort women, but its savage Mandingo fighting as well. Django then begins his journey to not only free his wife, but also to get bloody reparations from anyone who stands in his way.
Django seems heavily influenced by not only the blaxploitation and spaghetti westerns of the 70s, but there is also a hint of Good Bye Uncle Tom in there, and that gives the film its bite. The film is an unflinching look at slavery that doesn’t shy away from the ugly truth we casually like to ignore when speaking about the subject. This is Tarantino’s greatest contribution to this genre, this honesty on a subject that is often ignored in almost all westerns.
The acting here is a delight to watch as Tarantino’s dialog really shines even without the pop culture references we have come to expect, since we are after all in the old west. My only pet peeve would be Tarantino’s own cameo, but his abrupt exit almost makes up for it. Other than that expect more of those amazing iconic Tarantino characters we have grown to both know and love.
Tarantino once again displays his mastery of genre film in how he creates a film that while it plays by the rules, breaks from its genre to tell a story viewers who aren’t necessarily interested in genre film can relate to. My only issue with the film would be the pacing of the ending, since the film seems stammer a bit in the third act towards its conclusion. But, other than that the film is a worthy successor to Inglorious Basterds in his filmography and is definitely a kindred spirit to this previous film.
Django Unchained not only lived up to my overwhelming expectations, but also exceeded them in almost every way possible. This film is pure Tarantino from the first minute to the last and definitely one of his best. With that I give Django Unchained a 5 out of 5 stars.