Django Unchained – The Good the Bad and the Ugly

Last night I went to see the new Quentin Tarantino movie Django Unchained, I thought it was thoroughly entertaining. On reflection there was just a few elements that just didn’t sit quite right for me, and I can’t quite work out whether these were deliberate on or not.

The Good

Anyone that’s seen Inglorious Basterds can testify that Christopher Waltz is a superb actor and again he delivers a cracking performance, his on screen charm cannot fail to raise a smile from the grumpiest of movie goer. Waltz’s absence in the last 30 minutes is noticeable, though the final actions scenes of comic book violence sort of make up for it.

The movie is filled with references from westerns and early 70s blaxploitation movies, and delivers an experience unlike any film I’ve seen in the last 40 years of cinema, surely that can only be a good thing?

The Bad

About an hour in to the movie Jonah Hill makes a cameo appearance as part of a group of racist southern cowboy’s. The scenes were comical, but his face just didn’t seem to fit, he looked like a 90s stoner who had accidentally wondered on to 70s western.

Quentin Tarantino’s cameo was equally bizarre, he appears in the latter stages as an Australian slave trader. It just seemed a little unnecessary, I was also a little frustrated by the geeks in the audience wittering “Look its Quentin”.

At just under 3 hours long it’s quite slog and it never got boring, but there did seem to be a lot of pointless dialogue that didn’t really add anything to the story.

The Ugly

The soundtrack isn’t one of Tarantino’s finest, and I’m a massive fan of all of his previous ones. It mixes legendary western soundtrack composer Ennio Moricone (The Good the Bad and the Ugly, Once Upon a Time in the West) with 2Pac and Rick Ross. It could be argued that it’s used for comic effect, I’m not so sure.

It’s rare that as a viewer I’m confused but on several occasions flashbacks and dream sequences were cut in from nowhere. There are many scenes where Django has visions of his long lost wife, one upon entering the plantation where she was being held, for a moment I couldn’t figure out if this was a vision or not. Bad editing or deliberate?

Leonardo DiCaprio is a big talking point in this film, he plays evil slave plantation owner Calvin Candie. DiCaprio is a fantastic actor and he plays a good part, but I wouldn’t have cast him for this role. I feel Calvin would have been much more suited to a nasty old man, rather than a blue-eyed 30 something.

Did I mention Jonah Hill, if I did it’s worth mentioning again…

Conclusion

The very fact that I’ve felt the need to blog about this film means it must be something special. It’s certainly unique and somehow mixes heavy brutality with tongue-in-cheek fun. A classic it isn’t, great fun it is.

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