I typically enjoy action thrillers, but I have limits when a movie is filled with excessive bad language and enough blood to keep Red Cross in business for years. Quentin Tarantino’s newest film, Django Unchained, defiantly crosses these limits and shamelessly blows them away.
The film is no softer in plot. Django (Jamie Foxx) is a timid slave who is acquired by force and treated surprisingly fairly at the hands of bounty hunter, Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz). Together, the two form an effective alliance that escalates into a quest for vengeance and the rescue of Django’s wife from the Candie plantation in Mississippi.
Enter Calvin Candie. Played by charmer Leonardo DiCaprio, Candie is deceptively slick and easily one of cinema’s most despicable villains since Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight. The only cast member who compares is Samuel L. Jackson (looking far older and more menacing than in The Avengers), whose performance as a sharpened house slave sends chills.
Also notably impressive in their roles are Waltz and Foxx, the two members of the story’s unstoppable bounty hunting team. Waltz, possessing his role with a domineering sense of determination, takes Foxx right up under his wing. Later in the film Django undergoes a proud transformation from a timid slave into a fearless slayer of his oppressors.
A plethora of other well-known actors compliment the screen, including Jonah Hill in one of the film’s more lighthearted sequences. In fact, that is one of Tarantino’s trademarks: a star-studded cast who are unapologetic in their use of foul language.
Though I may sound annoyed with Tarantino’s excessive language and over-the-top violence, I acknowledge that he is very good at presenting a raw examination of something very real. Tarantino’s depiction of slavery is very harsh, but as a result, satisfyingly realistic. However, the elements he chooses to employ are widely unnecessary. Roots was a moving drama that provided social commentary on slavery, as does Django. The difference is that Roots employed a sophisticated script, with a vocabulary not limited to the F or N word for every other word, as well as passable content that gets its point across.
As much as I would like to love this movie for its distinctly entertaining plot, its drawbacks are far too noticeable. I had high expectations, and it’s a shame that they weren’t met. I can’t give this multi-Golden Globe nominated Tarantino treat more than three stars.