Django Unchained was the best movie I saw in 2012 (though Take Shelter and Moonrise Kingdom are a close second and third, respectfully) and certainly should be considered one of director Quentin Tarantino’s greatest accomplishments to date. Tarantino stayed true to his usual style in the sense that Django is a revenge story with horrific violence combined with snappy, tongue-in-cheek humor. Just as I expected, I got to watch some pretty horrible white people get their assholes handed to them by the one and only black man who rides a horse in the South, and it was every bit as satisfying as I had hoped.
Slave and title character, Django (Jamie Foxx), finds himself freed by German-American badass bounty hunter, Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz), and the two partner up in the bounty hunting business. Django is searching for his wife who was sold to a separate plantation after the two attempted to run away and Schultz agrees to help him find and free her. While some have made the comment that Django’s character isn’t developed enough, I have to disagree. Watching a flashback scene in which he is forced to watch as his wife is whipped mercilessly by a plantation owner, I understood his motivations and character completely. Although he didn’t have an overwhelming amount of lines, he managed to convey his love for his wife and his I’ll-do-anything-to-get-her-back fervor with more than mere words.
Although Jamie Foxx and Christop Waltz both gave outstanding and incredible performances, I was blown away by Leonardo DiCaprio as Mr. Candie, and I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t win an Oscar for best supporting actor (though the people in my house tell me I’m naïve for saying so, given the politics of the Academy Awards and the controversy over the film). He portrayed his character so well, especially in his moments of rage, that it was hard to imagine him as any of the other characters he’s played over the years (hello, Jack Dawson). The scene in which we first meet Mr. Candie, screaming at his enslaved “mandingo fighter” to kill his opponent- a scene in which eyeballs are ripped from their sockets - is the only time I can remember physically cringing during a movie. And that’s a good thing, so kudos to Mr. DiCaprio (and Mr. Tarantino).
The only real disappointment I had with Django Unchained (and, no, it’s not the so-called “racism”) was the fact that the women didn’t really have great roles or that much to do or say as they usually do in Tarantino films. I was expecting Django’s wife, Broomhilda (played almost silently by Kerry Washington), to have a big scene in which she gets her revenge along with Django, but it never happened.
That being said, I don’t think the movie would have had the same “FUCK YES!” feel to the ending had it played out any other way. Also, I feel like I just need to add how amazingly hilarious I found Jonah Hill in his small role as the simple, Southern KKK member, and, as a matter of fact, that whole scene was pretty damn awesome.
Quentin Tarantino may be flawed in the eyes of some, but I absolutely loved this movie despite the controversial uproar that followed it.