Set in the south two years before the start of the American Civil War, Django Unchained is the story of Django, a slave whose brutal history has led him to be purchased by Dr. King Schultz, a bounty hunter, who believes Django can help him find the Brittle brothers, who are wanted for their murderous ways. Dr. Shultz is a man who doesn't agree with slavery and after hunting down the Brittle brothers he decides to offer Django the chance to be his partner. While Django learns vital skills from his time as a Bounty Hunter, he never loses focus on his real goal, rescuing Broomhilda, his wife he lost in the slave trade years ago. Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained is a stylish and entertaining action film which ultimately suffers from many of the same issues as Tarantino's other recent efforts. Early on the film relies heavily on Christoph Waltz, who just feels like he was born to deliver a Tarantino screenplay, with his performance as Dr. King Schultz really being the highlight of the film. Tarantino's self-masturbatory dialogue, which was beyond frustrating in Inglorious Bastards, is toned down in Django, but the main problem I have with this "revisionist history" is that the drama is incredibly cheap and unearned. Of course it's fun to root for a slave who enacts his revenge on a bunch of racists but the film is never able to create much emotional resonance beyond what is simply earned from the subject matter. As to be expected, Django Unchained is very violent and well directed, with Tarantino using more expressionistic lighting and visual compositions then is typical for him. I must also mention that the loss of Tarantino's editor Sally Menke is clearly felt, as Django Unchained feels overlong and struggles with pacing, particularly towards the end of the film. The other major problem I had was with Samuel L. Jackson's character, Stephen, an Uncle Tom type character whose portrayal is fun but just too over-the-top to feel believable. There is a major plot point revolving around his ability to sniff out Django and Dr. Schultz true intentions which quite frankly was unconvincing. At the end of the day, Tarantino's Django Unchained is a lot of fun, drawing heavily from the Italian Spaghetti Westerns of the 60s and 70s but per usual for Tarantino, the film suffers from over-indulgence and excess fat which desperately needed to be trimmed.
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