Django Unchained

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CinemaSins         Movie Reviews

A freed slave turned bounty hunter searches for his wife.

There are SPOILERS ahead, if you haven’t seen it wait til you do or you’ll know what happens in the end. Okay, it’s Tarantino, you already know that the end is a bloodbath, but I do give away who gets killed first…

Okay, don’t get me wrong…I really really like Quentin “Bad Boy” Tarantino. I like a lot of his movies, and even when they’re not awesome, they’re still pretty good.

And when he’s good, he’s really damn good.

Violence doesn’t bother me, so I don’t have that objection to his movies, and I’m okay with the whole “I’m as good as Hitchcock and that ilk so I’ll do a lot of self-referential stuff that shows how cool I am”.  Sure, Q, go right ahead.

And I LOVED Inglourious Basterds. Wit, charm, violence, a bad guy you love to hate, silent film, what’s not to like? well, the ending was a little lame, but forgiveable.

So I was REALLY EXCITED when the buzz started on this. Not excited enough to stand in line for six hours at Comic-con to see him talk about it, but excited.

Then it opened on Christmas Day…the same day as Les Misérables, and that’s not even a contest. Sorry, Q.

So last night, about 2 weeks after it opened, Spider Jerusalem and I went to see it at a theater I hadn’t been to before (they just built them about 5 years ago, and it’s not a part of town I frequent) and had dinner there and the whole movie experience. And finally saw it.

And…well.

Good writing. Lots of violence. Good plot that pretty much holds together, aside from a few quibbles like them using dynamite ten years before it was invented. Good actors- I like Jamie Foxx, am okay with Di Caprio, and adore Christoph Waltz, who was actually the high point of this movie.

But. Hm.

Waltz was so charming, and Foxx so deadpan serious, that once Waltz and Di Caprio were out of the movie, it really went downhill, violent payoff notwithstanding. This was a movie about a serious and touchy subject, and, like the charming and funny Nazi in Inglourious Basterds, Waltz was really needed to make it watchable…and once he was gone, there was nothing but shooting left to do (and there WAS plenty of shooting, for sure.) Foxx, although one could sympathize with his situation, was not sympathetic; he barely had a personality. He was just there to shoot people til he could take his wife away. She was pretty but ditto, very little personality. I liked the lawyer, played by Dennis Christopher, and Samuel L. Jackson chewed scenery like a pro.

But…I wanted more. I really did want it to be as charming as IB, and it just wasn’t, aside from a few of Waltz’s lines. I thought it was totally unbelieveable that someone as pragmatic as bounty hunter Schultz would suddenly, after witnessing one awful incident, get such scruples that he wouldn’t do the one thing guaranteed to bring the whole deal off without a hitch, and instead precipitate a bloodbath, as he had to know would happen.

So worth seeing, it’s Tarantino, good actors, good violent explodo, but not his best.

Oh, and I had no problem with the “N word”, as everyone is saying about this movie; in context, absolutely appropriate. Trust Tarantino to push America’s buttons on one of the few real taboo words that are left to us.

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