Django poster

This weekend I saw the much talked about awards season film about slavery. No, not Spielberg’s Lincoln. You know, the other one… from the “other” master of historical epics who re-wrote world war two a few years back. (Yes, I am being facetious).

For a long time growing up, Pulp Fiction was my favourite movie. I’m still very partial to Reservoir Dogs.  Death Proof was terrible. I consider myself a fan of Tarantino’s movies, but not a fan of the man himself. His egotistical nature grates me.

Django Unchained’s plot is as follows: Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) is a bounty hunter in the search of certain bounty, the Brittle Brothers. He comes across Django (Jamie Foxx), a slave, who can help him identify the Brittle Brothers. So Schultz and Django come to an agreement, Django helps Schultz get the Brittle Brothers, and Schutz will help Django to find and rescue his wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington).

There is something about Tarantino’s films that I cannot take seriously. For me, watching a Tarantino movie is like watching Glee or listening to a Britney Spears song. It’s all surface and no substance. Visually and viscerally appealing, full of style and glitz, but lacking real nourishment.  The film contains snappy dialogue and great visuals as a Tarantino fan would expect. It is full of kitsch camera work and visual punches backed up with a great soundtrack.

It is brutally violent – I averted my eyes in many scenes.  Despite this, the film did not make me think deeply about the social implications of slavery. It made me feel uncomfortable in its depictions of violence, in the way that a good exploitation film does. I’m not sure that this movie is as socially important as Tarantino himself takes credit for.

This film’s main problem is that it lags – it takes far too long to resolve itself. It could comfortably lose 30 minutes without damaging the narrative.

I take it for what it is, two and a half hours of entertainment on a Sunday afternoon. Or, as the New Yorker so kindly puts it, a “crap masterpiece”.  

Django Unchained movie still



12 thoughts on “Django Unchained (2012)

  1. You’re entirely right: it’s overlong and all surface; it certainly doesn’t ask any larger questions. But still: he uses violence in ways no one else does, and so him films are always at least interesting in that regard.

    Also, I loved Death Proof! I thought it was great fun.

    • I agree – he uses violence well, and you can always count on his films to keep you entertained! I preferred Planet Terror to Death Proof : ) I think I struggled with the action being confined to the car, but I can’t remember completely as I watched it so long ago.

  2. Hi Hannah. Firstly, thanks for the follow. It brought my attention to your own website and I love reading almost anything about film.

    My opinion of Tarantino is similar to yours. Reservoir Dogs was his first and his best. I also loved Pulp Fiction. But almost all of his other films have left a bad taste in my mouth, especially Inglorious Basterds. I haven’t gotten around to this one yet, although I doubt it will get through the rigid censorship board in India.

    I don’t remember where I read this but he was once described as a “cinematic kleptomaniac”, which I think is spot on considering how many filmmakers he has ripped off and passed it off as “homage” or “pastiche”.

  3. I agree this film was at least 30 minutes too long: some scenes were redundant, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Here in the UK it wasn’t presented as “socially important” but more as a fun/violent film from Tarantino. I especially liked the humorous scenes and the ending.

  4. Hi Hannah,

    I like your blog very much. I can tell you the reason I thought the movie was terrible: Django never suffers any serious consequences for his actions. Everything bad that could happen was only implied but never carried out, which doesn’t really make for a compelling character if he’s always going to get his way and nothing bad ever happens to him. It’s surprising Tarantino has developed blue balls now because he sure had no problem fucking with us when he made Pulp Fiction. 😉

  5. Great review, all the way through. Your analytical abilities as applied to this film are appreciated. I love critical thinkers. If audiences were filled with more of you, filmmakers would be better.

    They’d have to be. All in all, I couldn’t take this film seriously either.

    But I brushed it off as – it wasn’t meant to be.

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