Cast: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L Jackson, Kerry Washington
Direction: Quentin Tarantino Genre: Drama Duration: 2 hours 45 minutes
STORY: A slave, with the help of a bounty hunter of German origin, seeks out his wife who has been sold to a ruthless plantation owner.
With Quentin Tarantino, there are no half measures. The much-loved/reviled (depending on which side of the fence you’re on) director has his fans and haters split right down the middle. It isn’t easy to love or loathe the films he makes. They’re shamelessly provocative but absolute guilty pleasures.
Take Django Unchained, for example. It isn’t QT’s best work by far. It is, however, his most discussed. Taking a familiar setting (the slave trade era in the American South), he pits it against the most outrageous (and most likely, fictional) tropes of the times. A free man, during the time, was rarely heard of.
Much less, as a partner to a decidedly European bounty hunter who shoots with his words as eloquently as he does his trusty guns. Then there’s the plantation owner who loves Mandingo fighting and yet, treats his head slave as something of an equal. Also, there’s far more boom and far less bang. You’d be forgiven for thinking that Django (Foxx) and his minder/mentor Dr King Schultz (Waltz) have ammunition factories in each town they ride into. QT draws out the mood of the times without taking his subject matter too seriously. Cinematography and score are top-notch as is the tight screenplay.
The trouble really begins with the abundance of characters that make their poorly fleshed out appearances and exits with no reason or rhyme attributed to their existence. And given the running time, the film could easily have done with a little less indulgence. Not Quentin’s best work by far.