A new Quentin Tarantino movie is always met with a lot of enthusiasm.
Having directed only 8 movies (including Django and excluding bits and pieces) his popularity is quite extraordinary.
The opinion on him seems to be divided between people considering him the best of the best and those who feel he’s overhyped.
I fell into the first category when I first saw ‘Reservoir Dogs’ and ‘Pulp Fiction’ but I started to see some cracks in him with the release of ‘Jackie Brown’ and ‘Death Proof’.
With the two ‘Kill Bill’ movies failing to connect with me, I was left with the feeling that he might be a one trick pony.
With his trademark dialogue and off beat (often dark) humour, it was 2009 when ‘Inglorious Basterds’ hit theatres, an utterly great movie, even though it lacked a story I felt was interesting enough for me, the quality of the movie, along with a great performance from Christoph Waltz, made it stand out as one of his best.
So now we arrive at the present day, where ‘Django Unchained’ has hit theatres and managed to get a total of 5 Oscar® nominations. By far, ‘Django’ is one of Tarantino’s most accomplished works to date.
Having flirted with the wild west genre for years on end, his first (and may prove to be final) take on the genre he loves, is filled with references and utter love for its heritage.
Django (Jamie Foxx) is our titular hero, a slave turned bountyhunter, through some help from Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) a former dentist now practicing bounty hunting, They both set out to find Django’s wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington).
Clocking in at a lengthy 165 minutes: ‘Django Unchained’ has no problem with pacing its story.
If you look at the recent release of ‘The Hobbit’ you can immediately admire that it’s no easy feat to try and tell a story in such a long period of time and not have a couple of slow moments in it.
Instead, ‘Django’ hits the ground running and never lets your attention level drop below zero.
Being a Tarantino movie, the usual ingredients are there: great dialogue (some exchanges between characters will be memorised and repeated for a long time) a great and varied choice of music and best of all, when you add it all up, it comes together beautifully.
Amongst the actors involved, Samuel L. Jackson shines as a mean old houseslave called Stephen.
A houseslave held by an equally memorable Leonardo DiCaprio, playing the full out evil villain: Calvin Candie.
Every scene they are in is just marvellous. Especially DiCaprio should have gotten an Oscar® nomination for this role. Calvin Candie might be the furthest distance away from his usual good guy act, and he absolutely nails the part.
What’s more important to me, is that the story feels like a story.
No, that’s not a typo from me, more often then not, Tarantino’s movies feel like a collection of scenes to me. Whether that’s Travolta dancing away with Thurman in ‘Pulp Fiction’ or Christoph Waltz doing his interrogation in ‘Inglorious Basterds’, I always got the feeling that when the movie was over, you felt that it missed that certain coherence to make it into a whole.
While this could easily be contributed to the fact that Tarantino has the strength to create such iconic scenes, I feel that ‘Django’ is his first movie since a long time that really tells us a full tale.
It’s just littered with awesome moments, like only Tarantino can do.
This year has seen the release of many movies which will easily stand the test of time, and ‘Django’ is just one of 9 other great movies that are worthy to get the Best Picture Oscar® come february 24th.
Whether or not ‘Django Unchained’ ultimately ends up winning this won’t matter much.
This is one of those movies that you must see, a 165 minute lasting rollercoaster of a movie that deserves every bit of attention that it gets.