After the great success of his latest film Inglourious Basterds even Quentin Tarantino might have felt a bit apprehensive about presenting his next film to the world but, if so, he needn’t have felt any trepidation, as Django Unchained has received worldwide acclaim. And not without good reason.
You might think that the story of an ex-slave turned bounty hunter who’s trying to rescue his wife from her slave master in Mississippi before the Civil War would make a pretty depressing story but Django Unchained is action-packed and surprisingly hilarious.
Much of this can be laid at the door of Christoph Waltz whose portrayal of Django’s saviour and bounty hunter mentor (he also played the Jew-hating Nazi Col. Hans Landa in Inglourious Basterds) is both incredibly funny and heart-warming.
The rest of the star-studded cast don’t disappoint either with Jamie Foxx slipping into the role of a ‘vigilante on a mission’ easily and Leonardo DiCaprio taking on the straightforward but nonetheless extremely entertaining role of southern slave owner. Samuel L. Jackson’s performance as DiCaprio’s manservant was so good that it promoted one cinema goer to exclaim: “That was Samuel L. Jackson?!” on his way out of the theatre.
As with most Tarantino films there’s plenty of violence, blood and questionable language (apparently the N-word is said a total of 110 times) but it’s this uneasiness mixed with entertainment that makes Tarantino such an acclaimed director. As Jamie Foxx has said: “It’s supposed to bother you.” The scene involving the KKK is one of the best of the film and deals with this uncomfortable issue with side-splitting humour and lots of explosions.
Honestly the only criticism I could make of the film is that at times the pacing seems to be slightly off. You think you’re getting to the end and then suddenly there’s another part to the story. Whether this is the product of an awkward cutting process I don’t know but it’s definitely not reason enough to miss this otherwise truly brilliant film.
Without a doubt Django Unchained should be at the top of your films to watch in the new year and with its compelling plot, riveting performances and thrilling action-packed scenes it’s sure to be remembered as one of the best westerns ever made. Oh, and did I mention the amazing soundtrack?
Django Unchained opens in UK cinemas on 18 January 2013. Watch the trailer below.