What can I say? Django Unchained has instantly become one of my favourite films. With a soundtrack which could easily be one of the best of 2013, Django has an air of style. Set in 1858 (Western style subtitles will introduce the timespan), this tale of a slave released by Dr King Shultz (Christopher Waltz, Inglorious Basterds) will throw you into physically violent situations before you can even say Tarantino.
It’s quite frankly one of the hardest things to write about – how can you refrain from saying what happens in the film? With a trailer that in fact only tells you the absolute basics, it’s definitely one you’ll have to see for yourself.
With the ‘N****r’ word being used around 117 times (at my count), Tarantino pushed the boundaries of story telling once more. Alongside bounty hunter Dr Schultz, Django must earn his freedom using rifles, dynamite and fear to strike down his enemies. Add in a comical scene with what appears to be the Ku Klux Klan (cameo from Jonah Hill) and you know that Tarantino is once again bringing you no holds barred entertainment – you don’t feel even the slightest regret for laughing during the humourous scenes, or turning your head away at the more gruesome ones.
Fighting in the end to save his wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) from a life of misery at Calvin Candie’s (Leonardo Di Caprio) ‘Candy Land’ plantation in the deep south, Django shows that every romance story needs a few punches to keep it going. Far from turning into a sappy love story, this film keeps its pace all the way through, keeping you on your toes.
Outstanding is obviously a word none of the actors have heard before. They act in the most amazing way, Di Caprio’s being, for me, a career defining role. Considering how many films he’s been in, you’d think that would be hard, but once you’ve seen it, try and talk about the film ONCE without mentioning Leonardo. Samuel L. Jackson joins the cast around half way through, adding intense humour and stealing some scenes in a way I haven’t seen him do since Pulp Fiction. Washington also manages to play Broomhilda with an intensity I haven’t seen from her before; she allowed herself to be whipped in order to feel the characters pain – if that’s not dedication, I don’t know what is.
But of course, I couldn’t write a review without mentioning Waltz and Foxx. Waltz stands out as a German anti-slavery bounty hunter, and you know exactly why Tarantino picked him for this role. Foxx – who also added vocals to the soundtrack – is everything you want in a man whose wife has been taken away from him. From the first scene, you know he means business. His scenes with Washington give the film something extra – innocent and purity in their love as opposed to the passion and intensity in Pulp Fiction, or Kill Bill.
Delivering an instant classic in my mind, Django Unchained couldn’t get less than five stars from me. This is a storyline completely different from other Tarantino films, yet not lacking on the action, violence, and humour one has come to expect from a film from Quentin. He reminds audiences why he’s simply one of the best storytellers and directors in film at the moment.
Django Unchained (2012), directed by Quentin Tarantino, is distributed in the UK by Sony Pictures Releasing, Certificate 18.
This article has been edited: A phrasing error in the first paragraph has been corrected.