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Review Django Unchained (2012): Sam L. Jackson is Satan personified!

genre: western, action, drama

Django Unchained starts out real good and strong. It's funny and full of the trademark dialogue you could expect from Quentin Tarantino. But after a while the humour diminishes and it becomes a little too serious. There is a lot of focus on slavery and how the whites treat their slaves. They way it is handled was decent only I did at times wonder why Tarantino felt compelled to tell this story. In one scene particular there was excessive use of the N word which was such a contrast to some of the brutal events concerning slaves. I know that the excessiveness  in this case is supposed to be funny but at one point it became rather annoying and tedious. At times it seems like he wants to address this serious topic and on the other hand makes fun of it a little.

The first 100 minutes are tight, fast paced and strong. Then Django loses steam and begins to drag a little. There is a scene where it easily could have ended and for some unexplainable reason Tarantino decides to tell more. While there are scenes that were worth watching I could not help but feel that it was completely unnecessary and maybe even hurtful to the overall experience. Since it took away from the strength. Still like in most Tarantino movies the acting is really good even phenomenal in some cases and makes you forget the flaws. Leonardo DiCaprio makes a really exceptional villain but then comes in Samuel L. Jackson who is almost Satan personified yet so very human and easily outshines Leo. He does deserve an Oscar for that. Christoph Waltz as Schultz is on the same level or even surpasses that performance which is noticeable when he is not around in later scenes. Jamie Foxx is solid and constrained and plays the part of the men with a few words well. Like in previous works of Quentin Tarantino there a number of older supporting actors who you may or may not recognize and they all (no matter how small their roles) are good.

This tribute to Spaghetti Western combined with blaxploitation is filled with brutal and bloody action scenes. These are invigorating and exciting. So much of them reminded me of Red Dead Redemption (video game). Now I can understand that some people might find the violence a little over the top. Spaghetti westerns always had been more liberal and excessive with gore so it would make sense that Quentin Tarantino would do also. On the whole the violence is pretty constrained compared to say Kill Bill Vol.1.

Overall I think this is one of the better Quentin Tarantino flicks but compared to earlier work (Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill) it is a little uneven. Personally I thought it is much better than Inglorious Bastards (2009) although I do think that Django Unchained shows that Quentin Tarantino is more effective in his shorter films. That being said Django Unchained is definitely a must watch.     

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