Django Unchained Review
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Twenty years after the release of his ground-breaking first film, Reservoir Dogs, Quentin Tarantino is both well-known and highly-respected for his playfully over-the-top style of filmmaking. With each new release, fans brace themselves for more outrageous situations, more quirky conversations, and more exceedingly graphic violence. And they’ll get more of the same—maybe more than they’ll really need—from Tarantino’s latest, Django Unchained.

The film follows a freed slave on his quest to reunite with his wife. The story begins in 1858, as Django (Jamie Foxx) is being transported to yet another plantation. On the way, though, the group is met by Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz), a German dentist turned bounty hunter who needs Django’s knowledge to help him track his latest target.

  
 
Together, Schultz and Django quickly bring down the Brittle brothers, leading Schultz to offer his new partner a deal: if Django will continue to work with him through the winter, Schultz will help him find his wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), and buy her freedom.

Like 2009’s Inglourious Basterds, Django Unchained is another playful period piece, in which Tarantino sets out to do some serious damage with some historical bad guys. Last time, it was the Nazis; this time, it’s Southern slave owners—and anyone who enables their behavior. Along the way, slave traders, abusive foremen, and KKK members meet some ridiculously—and even joyously—gruesome ends. And it’s all so extreme—and the baddies are all so sinister—that you can’t help but revel in the violence of it all as they get their just deserts. It’s pure over-the-top, B-movie-style entertainment.

Of course, it helps that the heroes are so undeniably irresistible. Waltz (who won a well-deserved Oscar for his role in Inglorious Basterds) has a kind of infectious exuberance that makes him so much fun to watch. And, once again, he’s absolutely outstanding as Schultz—an eccentric character who delights in the dirty work. Foxx, on the other hand, gives Django the kind of quiet sincerity that will make audiences love him from the start. Together, Django and Schultz definitely make an unlikely pair, but they complement each other perfectly.

Meanwhile, like Tarantino’s earlier films, Django Unchained is both brilliantly cast and cleverly written, filled with long conversations that never feel dull—no matter how seemingly irrelevant they may be. The problem, however, is that the film eventually wears out its welcome. Some of the characters, while entertaining in small doses, eventually become irritating. And just when you think that the film is about to end, it picks up again and continues on for another pointless (and rather strange) half-hour.

Django Unchained certainly has its share of unforgettable moments—especially in the first half. It’s cool and quirky, and the cast couldn’t be much better. But, with its drawn-out conclusion, Tarantino’s latest effort proves that it’s possible to get just a little too much of a good thing.


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