Tarantino Unchained

Django Unchained received lots of hype: great acting, the excessive use of the “n” word, and good writing. For many fans, this is yet another crowning achievement in Tarantino’s insane world of overly-bloody violence and whacked out plots. But for non-Tarantino fans, this adventure is long and droll.

django-unchained-01Django Unchained starts as a decent film, like a more intelligent version of Blazing Saddles. The plot is humorous as a black slave rises up as a bounty hunter going after the white men who enslaved him.  Django’s journey from slave to gunman is funny, moving, and enthralling. Viewers are eager for him to find his wife and rescue her from the evil plantation owner.

But suddenly, the tone shifts. As Django and his mentor come to the Candy Land plantation, humor is left behind for violence and darkness. As soon as they reach the plantation, they must watch a runaway slave be torn apart by dogs, and the viewers have to watch too. The movie becomes more violent and serious from there as Django and his mentor negotiate for the wife’s freedom. The negotiations get bloodier and bloodier.

The movie has three major flaws. The first is the aforementioned change in tone while the second one is the casting. The majority of the acting was atrocious. Some actors, such as Don Johnson, were supposed to be bad because it was funny. But this was no excuse for Jamie Fox, who did his best work when silent, or Christopher Waltz and his horrible accent. His character was supposed to be German? Go figure.  The only actor who lived up to the hype was Leonardo DiCaprio who, I have decided as I have gotten older, really is a talented actor.

django-unchained-leonardo-dicaprio-movieThe biggest issues, though, is the timing. The movie drags in its final paces. Instead of a simple resolution, Tarantino drags it on from bloody fight to bloodier fight. All traces of humor or morality are gone. Had the movie kept tone of the first half and not let the story drag, it could have been a great piece of film. Instead of just a bloody mess designed to be art.

While Tarantino fans may have a ball, those who are not into the director’s quirkiness are better off not seeing this one. There isn’t much Django Unchained for the rest of us.

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