Django Unchained (2012) Review

director: Quentin Tarantino

writer: Quentin Tarantino

starring: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz and Leonardo DiCaprio

genre: Drama | Western

released: December 25, 2012 (U.S.), January 17, 2013 (Germany & Greece)

When your fed up with the conventional and monotonous flow of films that come and go each year. Then there is no one better to save the day, than QT. His alternative flavor has always been the best and with "Django" you will laugh, cringe and be constantly on the edge of your seat through bloody gunfights, asynchronistic music and savage slavery injustice. Genre film-making at its best from a true master of cinema.


On a cold night in Texas. Dr King Schultz (Christopher Waltz) is on the hunt for the outlaw Brittle Bros. In order to catch them, he requires the service of a Black slave named Django (Jamie Foxx) to identify them. While on the bounty, the both develop a friendship and see that their co-operation could continue beyond the one bounty.

Onwards Dr. Schultz promises Django to help him in his attempts to free his wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), from a Mississippi plantation owned by the sadistic and ever powerful Calvin Candy (Leonardo DiCaprio). The task of freeing Broomhilda will prove tricky for the cunning duo, as they will be put deep into the dragon's layer and at arms length of being badly burnt.


As with almost every Tarantino film, "Django" has all the usual classic trademarks we all love. It's another one of his serious takes on a genre he adores and that has a huge history of exploitation film-making. This time the theme is "Slavery" and in the Southern-American Western setting.

Like before, he pays homage to filmmakers and actors of this ever forgotten genre and most importantly retains his fast paced, witty and cool dialogue, unconventional storytelling and powerful directing. Otherwise, without these elements this couldn't have been a Tarantino film.

With "Django" QT engages the audience deeply into America's darkest time, with a first hand look at slavery. Tarantino not only showcases the era beautiful, but also the pain and humiliation the slaves had to endure. In a way slavery is the equivalent of Germany's troubled past with Nazism. Both are times were human rights were non existent and torture and death were more certain than taxes. Its great that Tarantino was able to bring about the much tabooed issue of slavery into fruition and have it back on peoples minds.

What's special about QT's films is not only his characteristic film-making methods and techniques. But also his choices as a filmmaker and how he's made audiences view films differently for ever on. The man has made movie careers out of unknown actors, revitalized others, inspired fans to enter the movie business and refined our tastes in cinema for the better. He has made it so, that dialogue could be quotable again and not stiff. He made it so that quality actors like DiCaprio, could twiddle around in parts unfamiliar to most movie filmography's. He also paved the way for stylized film-making and the re-emergence of genre cinema to the mainstream.

All this is still true with "Django", making it yet again a wonderful QT film, but not a great one. Alas my problems with "Django" don't arise from disappointment or from a change of Tarantino's cinematic character. However this is the first time that I wished some things were done differently.

The two predicaments that diminish the film from being as astounding as other Tarantino films are the technical issues of length, pace and editing. Around the one hour mark is where the film shows its dip. With instances of a far slower pace compared to the rest of the film. This pacing slows the film down quite a bit and we could have done without some of the horse riding scenes, bounty snippet montages and beautiful scenery, that don't play a necessary part to the story or characters.

The editing only presents its issues when its comes down to the flashback sequences. The cut between present story and flashback are at times fuzzy, others jumpy and some times even completely abrupt. This is far more evident in early flashbacks scenes within the film and they come as a big surprise as almost every time you don't expect that a flashback is about to happen. These complaints may seem minor and could be considered subjective. Though maybe I have personally reached the point where not every QT film is made in gold and noticing problems with his films to be more evident. 

Nevertheless, lets not forget that this, as with every other of his films entertains and without having a major hitch to dissatisfy. His films are always perfect representations of genre films with incredible stories, memorable characters and monumental movie scenes that almost always become classic moments of cinema in our minds. It was bound that one of his high scoped films, would fall a bit flat with one fan here and there. 


Ultimately, no matter the small inconsistencies that are often not present in Tarantino films. The only thing you need to know and not worry. Is that this beloved filmmaker pays no mind to studio demands, pressures or to the masses morale and value outlooks. Instead he makes films solely on the virtue, that you will find it to be the most cool, righteous and surprising entertainment you will have ever seen before. This is what drives us in line every time to see another one of his films. As he is the master of "cool"!

Personal Rating:

4.5 Stars.jpg

review by Paul Katsaros

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