Django Unchained

Last night I trudged through the snow to see Quentin Tarantino’s latest offering Django Unchained . I cannot claim to be a Tarantino expert having only seen less than a handful of his films and to be perfectly honest he’s never been my favourite, but I can certainly understand why people have been touting Django as one of his best films to date.  The Guardian posted the most beautifully written (albeit laden with spoilers) review just yesterday so I don’t want to regurgitate much of the same praise, instead I’d like to point out my favourite parts of the film and what made it so special for me:

1. Christoph Waltz’s Accent

Waltz plays Dr. King Schultz, an extraordinarily eloquent and well read dentist turned bounty hunter who ‘frees’ Django *. I don’t want to say much more on his character as I knew next to nothing about the plot or characters when I went to see the film and therefore I don’t want to ruin anything for anyone. What I will say is that Waltz who is of Austrian German descent (and a Tarantino favourite, also appearing in Inglorious Basterds) has the most magical accent I’ve ever heard. It’s very much Americanized with a hint of German every now and then, it’s almost melodic and draws you into his character which you grow to love.

2. Jamie Foxx

There’s not much more to say other than his charisma is overpowering and I cannot think of any other actor who could have played this role. He delivers one liners such as “Hey there troublemaker” and “It’s me baby” that not only make his wife Broom Hilda weak at the knees (played by the stunning Kerry Washington) but every female audience member!

3. Portrayal of Slavery

Some have said that they fear the film trivializes slavery- that could not be further from the truth. Yes there are some humorous moments in scenes of a serious nature (including one particular scene involving Ku Klux Klansmen) yet Tarantino manages to keep the film perfectly in balance. The film portrays slavery from neither a white man or black man’s perspective, it is not American patriotic in the slightest and it highlights the gruesome truths of slavery without any of the theatrics that are synonymous with spaghetti Westerns.

5. The music

Ennio Morricone, John Legend, Rick Ross, Johnny Cash all ensure that the music is the right blend of classic Spaghetti Western with a 2013 modern edge which surprisingly doesn’t detract from the authenticity.

The controversial use of the N word throughout the film- yes Tarantino has a slight obsession with the use of the word, first noted in Jackie Brown and he may have been a tad over zealous in its use throughout this movie, but in response to his critics he said backstage at the Golden Globes; “If somebody is out there actually saying when it comes to the word ‘n—–,’ the fact that I was using it in the movie more than it was being used in the antebellum south in Mississippi, then feel free to make that case. But no one’s actually making that case. They are saying I should lie, that I should whitewash, that I should massage, and I never do that when it comes to my characters,” and I can’t say I totally disagree with him. Tarantino, after all did not make his name by sugar coating.

Overall, the biggest test is that it may be nearly three hours long but I did not lose interest once which is more than I can say for Gangster Squad which I went to see last week (why Ryan why!?!). The heightened sense of tension that precipitated the biggest shoot out of the film was charged with so much emotion that it was almost more memorable than the shoot-out itself (which was pretty spectacular. I can’t stress enough just how much I loved Django- so much so that I’m planning on going again!

* I’ve heard complaints at the prospect of a white man freeing a slave, my response to that would be- watch the film and then complain if you see fit. Schultz may ‘free’ Django but he also teaches him about life as a free man by educating him on the art of biding his time and not losing his patience, in a completely non-patronizing manner, and by the end of the film you’ll see that Django can cope quite well on his own without the aid of his white companion.






  1. January 21, 2013 / 1:45 pm

    My thoughts exactly – as soon as you leave the cinema you want to go and see it again. It’s that good.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *