The "D" is Silent. Payback Won't Be.
Dana Michelle Gourrier
Running Time: 165 minutes
US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 18
Country: United States
Django Unchained’s two main protagonists are Dr King Schultz (Waltz), a German bounty hunter and Django (Foxx), a black slave who’s had his wife (Washington) taken away from him. Dr Schultz gives Django his freedom in return for the apprehension of three dangerous criminals whom only he can identify and then in turn goes on a quest to help Django free his wife from the services of brutal plantation owner Calvin Candie (DiCaprio).
As usual in the genre of the Tarrantino, Django is based upon the excellent characterisation of quirky characters and their snappy, ultra-cool dialogue – and the massive film geek doesn’t disappoint. Jamie Foxx has been rescued from a shaky period and puts in an awesome performance with plenty of intense staring, surprising comic timing and the ability to make the viewer feel both empathy and revulsion. Christoph Waltz – whom the whole film seems to have been built around – is excellent and he plays a charming character much like his stint in Inglourious Basterds but without the slightly negative Nazi connotations. Finally, DiCaprio has been let out of the house he shares with Martin Scorsese and for once plays the turn of the bad guy and a bit like Henry Fonda in Once Upon a Time in the West doesn’t look out of place at all.
Django also boasts very, very dark and funny humour, a couple of excellent montages set to an eclectic soundtrack and a tone that varies nicely between depressing visions of hell, upbeat buddy japes and engaging action. So far, so very good.
Unfortunately, like my Mum with a piece of prime steak, Tarrantino has overcooked Django and left you wondering what could have been. By the final third of this overlong outing it feels like Django should have long been over. Quite like Inglourious Basterds, Django is incredible in the first half and set up perfectly, only to let you down with a meandering mess of a plot. and seeing QT turn up in final minutes sporting a truly terrible Aussie accent only adds to rub more salt in the wounds. Much of this lies at the feet of a pivotal elongated dinner scene where all the characters are obviously due to find out each other’s hidden agendas and in trying to emulate so many other classic Tarrantino scenes that stick in the memory, he tries to hard and fails to create any of the tension that this scene desperately needed.
It's Got: Great soundtrack, spot on humour, Samuel L. Jackson of course
It Needs: you to not be offended by the N word, not to have starred Quentin himself with an awful Aussie accent, for the seond half to have lived up to the first
A generally enjoyable film that fails to kick on after a rollicking first half. Spoiler: Quentin Tarrantino should never, ever speak in an Australian accent ever again.