For Django Freeman (Jamie Foxx), a slave turned bounty hunter, every day alive brings another opportunity to rescue his wife (Kerry Washington) from the cruel clutches of plantation owner, Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio).
Led by his newfound mentor Dr. Schultz (Christoph Waltz), Django cuts his teeth across America during the winter of 1858, killing bad white folk and getting paid to do it, all the while searching out his estranged beloved.
We say, “It’s Tarantino to a T.”
TAYLOR: I liked this film better than Inglourious Basterds. Perhaps it’s because Tarantino insists that his audiences don’t take his work seriously. By this I mean, most filmmakers are attempting to have an audience get lost in a film, Tarantino constantly reminds us we are watching one. If that isn’t enough, he’s also going to elbow us in the ribs every two minutes: “You get that reference, alright? Aren’t I cool?” Yeah, you’re cool Quentin, and we get it. Fortunately, I’m a little more able to enjoy his pop-collage style when it’s wrapped around a spaghetti western, rather than the Second World War.
HOWE: Jackie Brown has always been my favourite Tarantino movie, but it’s now time for her to step aside and let Django take the reigns for a while. It is thoroughly enjoyable (well, that’s if you don’t mind a titch of blood and some target practice on someone’s testicles) and packed with the intelligent dialogue that we have come to expect from the master filmmaker.
TAYLOR: Spaghetti westerns are a sub-genre from the ‘60s marked by cheap, violent and often bleak tales of revenge or justice, in Spain and Italy. There are probably a hundred references to other spaghetti westerns in Django Unchained, most notably to the original Django (1966).
Tarantino’s new film is a melting pot of general and specific homages, amped up and drugged out in glorious, blood splattered extremes. These extremes include language, so you get eloquent soliloquy punctuated by the most profanity in a film this year.
HOWE: There are so many good performances in Django. Waltz seems like he was born to act in Tarantino movies. It’s like his lines are written for him and him alone. DiCaprio is an amazing actor (some will disagree.) He submerges himself so well in the roles he plays, yet makes it look effortless. But what really surprised me was Tarantino’s choice for his character Big Daddy. He brought back my ‘80s icon Don Johnson. What a star.
TAYLOR: Django Unchained is a lot of fun. You’ll laugh. You’ll cringe. It’s hyper-violent. Still, it breaks no new ground. It’s completely unoriginal and only serves to prove that Tarantino is Hollywood’s regurgitator. Luckily for all of us, he happens to have chosen cool references. (He usually does, damn it!) Maybe someday he’ll make another grown up movie, but Django isn’t it.
— Howe gives Django Unchained 4.5 blood soaked flowers out of 5.
— Taylor gives it 3.5 colts out of 5.
The film is currently showing at the Galaxy Cinemas in Vernon.
– Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are film critics living in Vernon, B.C.