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Review

‘Django’ lives up to major hype

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February 7, 2013

Quentin Tarantino is back with a new film, and he’s taking on the American West in his new enticing, bloody, revenge story, spaghetti western, ‘Django Unchained.’

Django is a black slave who has been through a lot: he’s been beaten by slave owners, was taken from his wife and is being taken on a slave train to be auctioned off. But when German bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz takes him away from a life of labor and chains to find Django’s criminal, ex-slave owners, he is given a chance to get back his life and get even.

Movie poster for Django Unchained
“Django Unchained” is directed by Quentin Tarantino.

With a gun in hand and a heart full of resolve, Django sets off across the American West with Dr. Schultz to bring Django’s ex-slave owners to an end, find his wife and rescue her from a delightfully vile plantation owner. Along the way, he will need to use his wits and gun slinging prowess to bring down those who have wronged him and get his beloved wife back.

Of the movies that were to premiere at the beginning of this New Year, I was extremely hyped for ‘Django Unchained.’ Quentin Tarantino is a fine movie maker that can tell exciting and challenging stories in them and direct them to such a degree to call him a master of the art. With ‘Django Unchained,’ his love of movie making still strives to this day as Django is a sure-fire hit to add to his directing repertoire.

‘Django Unchained’ is, at its heart, a revenge story told and enacted wonderfully. The movie really makes you care about Django and his quest for vengeance so much that you will be cheering every time he evades fire or puts a bullet into a head. The actors also do a superb job portraying their characters, with Jamie Foxx showing Django’s angry and hurt side and with Christopher Waltz bringing out the wit and charm of Dr. Schultz.

The real charm of the characters, though, really comes out in Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance as the brutal plantation owner Calvin D. Candie, who melds into his role and the setting so well that I almost forgot it was him on screen. All the other actors do fine jobs as well, helping to bring out the 19th Century American West setting, with particular props to Samuel L. Jackson, whose role I won’t spoil, but will say came as a surprise, and made me roll in my theater chair with lauding laughter.

Aesthetic-wise, ‘Django Unchained’ is a beautiful movie in all aspects. The shots of the American Frontier are gorgeous, the direction is clean-cut, and the music is a mix of original content and various artists, including movie music legend Ennio Morricone (‘The Good the Bad and the Ugly’), which all make this movie much more of a homage to the classic spaghetti western films it models itself after.

Along with the other things this movie offers in the direction department, the action is some of the most satisfying I’ve seen in a movie for a while. The violence can range from plain brutal and hard to watch to the satisfyingly heroic. And thanks to Django’s character, no matter how much blood he sheds or bodies he drops, you still find yourself rooting for him to the very explosive end.

The blood and gore also helps make this movie very R-rated. Adding to that, viewers are also advised to expect heavy use of the N-word, which may either make you uncomfortable or offend.

But despite that, ‘Django Unchained’ makes its mark as one of the best movies I have seen in a long time, and one of the best of the year. It’s a wonderfully made and gloriously violent movie that will make you sing “Django!” even after you leave the theater.

Ryan Funes is a lover of all things movie, TV, video games and stories and wants to become a television writer someday. In his spare time he enjoys hanging with friends, tapping into his imagination, and watching cartoons of all kinds.