Thursday, March 7, 2013
Django Unchained: Movie Review. Or Heck, Just Go Watch It!
"Django Unchained" is bloody awesome. Oh yes, it's bloody, all right. You won't expect anything less from Quentin Tarantino. But he's cobbled a pretty good spaghetti Western with the underdog-black-slave-gets-fantasy-revenge theme.
I don't want to give any spoilers or reveal too much of the plot - it's really best to just go in, sit back and enjoy the movie without knowing what's coming next. As it is, I already think the trailers reveal too much.
Thankfully, the movie has its humorous moments amidst the violence. It's got basically what works in a plot, villains you love to hate, heroes you want to root for, enough laughs and surprises. But it does sag and drag at certain parts, most notably the centre portion. So much so that you are practically relieved to see the signature bloodbath finally break out.
The film itself garnered 91 nominations and won 25.
These include five Academy Award noms, and two wins.
Quentin Tarantino who wrote and directed the movie, took home the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Did you know he writes his screenplays by longhand and not by computer? Dude loves pain, all right. But hey, I respect that old school bent.
He also has a cameo in the movie. Suitably short-lived role.
My favourite character by far is Dr King Schultz (right) who recruits Django as his deputy bounty hunter. I love the way he manages to shoot first and pacify later. He's the most beguiling of the lot - a mix of compassionate vulnerability and cold-hearted decisiveness.
Not surprisingly, actor Christoph Waltz who embodies Dr Schultz with warmth and wit, won the Best Supporting Actor accolade at the Oscars.
Jamie Foxx plays a gritty Django to good effect. Earlier on, Will Smith had been one of the casting considerations for the role, but much as I love Will, I think he might be a little too goofy to play Django.
Interestingly, Foxx (real name Eric Bishop) grew up in Texas amidst some racism, and has no issues with the movie's controversial slavery theme and liberal use of the N-word. History is what it is.
Leonardo diCaprio totally commands the role of Calvin J. Candie, the slick, rich and cruel plantation owner training slaves to fight to the death. He's better as a bad guy than a hero, anytime.
And what's a Tarantino movie without a dash of Samuel L Jackson?
This time he plays a treacherous, cynical badass, the Uncle Tom male servant in Candie's employ. I kept wanting to see him morph into the surprise saviour, coming round to the aid of his own kind. In one scene, I think he does, unintentionally. But on the whole, he's still someone we're supposed to hate (gosh, how is that possible?)
Django Unchained opens 21 March 2013 in Singapore. Go watch it. Even if you're squeamish about guns and gore.
Thanks to Wei Li and Alvin for arranging the movie preview. All photos from the movie's Facebook page.
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