No one can deny the love, passion and time that Quention Tarantino dedicates to his films and to the art of filmmaking in general. Never one to shy away from controversial topics, Tarantino continues – despite the scolding critics – to face these challenging issues head on, and the result never lets his fans down.
In Django Unchained, Tarantino explores the rather sensitive subject of slavery. Set in the Deep South – two years before the Civil War – the story opens with Django (Foxx) being marched along with other shackled slaves across the countryside by a couple of injudicious slave traders. Their journey is soon interrupted by bounty hunter, Dr. Shultz (Waltz); a well-spoken, lighthearted bounty hunter who poses as a travelling dentist.
Dr. Shultz requires assistance in tracking down murderous slave traders, the Brittle Brothers, who can only be identified by Django himself. Dr. Shultz soon frees Django and in return for his help, Shultz offers his support in finding and rescuing Django’s wife, Broomhilda (Washington), who was separated from her husband and sold into slavery to wealthy plantation owner, Calvin Candie (DiCaprio).
Django Unchained is a straightforward affair with a classic Hollywood structure, but in true Tarantino style, the joy of vengeance plays an important part of the story. Shameless in its portrayal, Tarantino’s line of attack of exploring this dark part of American history is masterful and brutally honest.
Regardless of the big laughs, Django Unchained never loses focus of where it’s coming from, nor does it ever take itself lightly. Blood-splattering violence, clever dialogue and sharp characters are what Tarantino does best and Django Unchained is frank in its delivery. As someone who finds music to be an important factor of his filmmaking style, Tarantino doesn’t disappoint. The soundtrack mixes several music genres from western themed instrumentals – composed by the legendary Ennio Morricone – to the unexpected, but nevertheless pleasing, gut-busting hip-hop beats.
Foxx’s determination as a man desperate to be reunited with his wife is stirring, while DiCaprio is a force to be reckoned in the role of villain and Washington’s quiet suffering is heartbreaking.
However, it’s Waltz and Jackson’s gripping performances that will send shivers down your spine. Jackson, as the sneaky and smart-mouthed Stephen – Candie’s eternally faithful slave – portrays himself as someone you will both love and hate, while Waltz, following his Oscar-winning turn in Inglorious Basterds, embodies his role and shows once again that he is one of the best working actors in Hollywood.
Django Unchained is a spaghetti-western heavyweight and pays homage to a genre which has been long forgotten. A true and unrestrained cinematic masterpiece, it could quite possibly be one of the most commendable films of the past decade.