Django Unchained – Review

4/5 – Django Unchained is Tarantino’s best movie in years!

Five minutes into Django Unchained, I said, “I already like this more than Iron Man 3.” That feeling stayed throughout the entire movie. That’s a long time to feel that way, as Django Unchained clocks in at close to 2 hours and 45 minutes.

But Quentin Tarantino pulled off an excellent take on the spaghetti western. Looking back the 10 feature films that Tarantino directed, I would call Django Unchained his third best film, behind Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs (Note: I haven’t seen Death Proof). In other words, this is Quentin Tarantino’s best movie in 18 years. That said, the gap between Reservoir Dogs and Django Unchained is much larger than the gap between Django and next movie I’d put on that list.

The cast in Django is superb. Christoph Waltz definitely deserved his Oscar for playing Dr. King Schulz. He was easily my favorite character in the movie. Dr. Schulz is like an old west Danny Ocean. He has all the angles figured out, and is both the smartest and most charming man in the room.

I want Django’s jacket.
Jamie Foxx is wonderful as Django. He plays him as a soft-spoken force of nature who won’t stop until he’s reunited with his wife, Broomhilda, played by the stunning Kerry Washington. I haven’t seen many of Foxx’s movies, and this has me excited to see his take on the villain Electro in Amazing Spider-Man 2.
The object of Django’s quest. His wife, and fellow runaway slave, Broomhilda.

In my review of The Help, I noted that southern racists and Nazis were very easy go-to Hollywood villains. It’s interesting that Quentin Tarantino’s last two movies have featured those two groups as their main antagonists. It’s also interesting how much I loved both of them. I found Django killing slave owners to be as cathartic as Lt. Aldo Raine hunting Nazis in Inglourious Basterds.  Inglourious Basterds, by the way, is my 4th favorite movie directed by Tarantino.

Definitely worth seeing.

There are funny scenes scattered throughout the bounty hunting and payback in Django Unchained. It’s the kind of humor that you would expect from a Tarantino movie. A group of white men in white hoods spend a few minutes complaining about the quality of the eye holes in their hoods before attempting to lynch Django and Dr. Schultz. Like the diner scene in Reservoir Dogs, it focuses on the day-to-day minutiae of these men. It’s not a scene you’d expect, and plays like a very good deleted scene. It was very funny, but you would understand if the director dropped it on account of time.

I thought Django Unchained was great from beginning to end. I only wish I had taken the opportunity to see it on the big screen when it was in theaters this past winter. I highly recommend watching it. One caution though, like me, you might find yourself humming the main theme for a few days.