Django Unchained [25 for FQ13] – The Sharp-Dressed Men

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In all of those episodes of the 1960’s Batman television show, the villain leaves the Caped Crusader with the slightest hope of escape from nearly certain death, and each time they’re proven foolishly carless. How is it that none of the villains in Django Unchained learned from that sort of lesson?

That’s not to say I was rooting for the slave owners. I’m not sure that’s possible.

Django Unchained

Why I Saw It: It fit in quite nicely with my goal to see Best Picture nominees, it looked incredible stylistically, and everyone I knew who had seen it was raving about how great it was. How does someone pass up that sort of opportunity?

What Was It About?  “With the help of a German bounty hunter, a freed slave sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner.

Rating: 9.5 out of 10

Memorable Performances: The performances of each of the four actors listed below are absolutely some of the most memorable on their film resumes thus far.

Potential Nominations for Film Quest ’13:  

  • Best Actor – Christoph Waltz
  • Best Actor – Jamie Foxx
  • Best Supporting Actor – Samuel L Jackson
  • Best Supporting Actor – Leonardo DiCaprio
  • Best Picture

Favorite Parts: There are sooo many great things about this film, it’s hard to pick favorites, but I’ll list a few things which come to mind:

  • Dialogue – if the only thing you remember about the dialogue from this film is that they used the “n-word” a half-dozen times in each scene, then I feel like you let that cloud your memories of some otherwise excellent dialogue. Great scenes along these lines (with great lines) which I can recall: initial freeing of Django; shooting the sheriffs; Klan rally nearly ruined by volunteer tailors; on the road to Candie-Land; Stephen enlightens Candie; Alexandre Dumas might not approve; Django gets the final word with Stephen. Just about anything that comes out of Christoph Waltz’s mouth.
  • Style – what the characters were wearing (how could you NOT love Django’s blue suit?), how they conducted themselves (Django’s interactions with Candie and ‘Moonlight’, not just with what he said, but how he said it), the music, the cinematography… the film just had a really cool vibe to it
  • Subtleties – how many great aspects of this film were just small details that Tarantino included which some people probably didn’t notice? I’m sure there are things that I missed along the way, but some of the subtle things I really enjoyed were: the snowman target practice; the dancing horse (at the end); Django meeting Django at the bar;
  • samuel-l-jackson_django-unchainedStephen – out of all of the characters in this film, his was one I wasn’t expecting to see: a villainous black man helping a ruthless plantation owner. And yet, it was a brilliant character with some classic lines and in some scenes he upstaged some great actors in his performance. Excellently executed by Samuel L. Jackson, who deserves more praise for that role than he has received.

The Regrettable Aspects: The gratuitous violence. There wasn’t need for all the splatter during the gunfight in Candie’s mansion (not the FINAL gunfight, but the one with lots of people involved), nor the graphic nature of the “mandingo” fight. Though it seems perhaps historically accurate for the word to be thrown about as frequently as it was, it’s regrettable that the “n-word” shows up as often as it does, if for no other reason than it cast a dark cloud over otherwise great dialogue.

Would I watch it again? I’m probably going to buy it on Blu-ray.

To Whom Would I Recommend It?  To anyone who doesn’t shy away from a movie with a touch of graphic violence in spots and an over-use of racial slurs.

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Other Recommendations:

– PAYBACK – great revenge flick with a dark comedy edge to it and fun dialogue.

INGLORIOUS BASTERDS – it has the same great dialogue mixed in with the same gratuitous violence.

– RAY – an excellent performance by Jamie Foxx which absolutely deserves a viewing.

If you’ve got recommendations for alternatives to DJANGO UNCHAINED, or for other similar films, let me know!

Next up, TOMBSTONE.

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