QUENTIN Tarantino’s entry into the western genre, ‘Django Unchained’ is a terrific throwback to the spaghetti westerns of the 1960s and a wonderful homage to those films. Dubbed ‘a Southern’ by Tarantino, it deals with slavery in the United States during the 19th century.
Its 1858, two years before the American Civil War and Django (Jamie Foxx) is a slave, forced on a unforgiving march across Texas, when he is freed by a German bounty hunter, Dr King Schultz (Christoph Waltz). Schultz is looking for a gang called the ‘Bitter Brothers’ – he has never seen them before and Django, having been purchased from their plantation, is enlisted to help.
Django begins to accompany Schultz on his travels and they soon learn more about each other. Django tells Schultz about his wife - a fellow slave, being held at a notorious plantation, owned by the infamous Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio).
Being a Tarantino film, you can expect a lot of violence. With America’s dark past serving as a backdrop, most of that violence is perpetrated against the slaves. Scenes of whipping and mutilation, are relentlessly intense and can be very unsettling. These acts, along with roaming Ku Klux Klan type gangs, convey the real horrors of slavery. Death never seems too far away.
As Django, Jamie Foxx is a cool, vigilante anti-hero. He grows angrier and more defiant during the film and I found myself cheering him on. Christoph Waltz gives the best performance of the film. He is excellent as the charming and eccentric Dr Schultz, while Leonardo DiCaprio is outstanding as Candie; a thoroughly unpleasant and truly villainous character.
‘Django Unchained’ is a marvellous, eclectic mix of history and genre hallmarks, with a fresh original story and great dialogue. In short, it feels like a Tarantino film.
By Kelan Headley