I’m going to have a hard time writing about Django Unchained because I don’t want to spoil for you. And I won’t. I promise. But I really want to, because this movie was SO GREAT! So I’ll just discuss the superb acting and I won’t blow the story.
Here’s the trailer:
First, let me say that Jamie Foxx is phenomenal. No surprise, seeing as he won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Ray Charles. Hard to believe this is the same guy:
Now he’s 45, sleek and polished, and in the best shape of his life. While Django is a fun movie, the title character is mostly serious. Foxx pays proper reverence to the plight of the slaves, and Tarantino ensures that we do not take the subject lightly. We cringe and absorb the sheer horror of abuse. This particular brand of violence is extremely hard to watch. But those moments are fleeting and balanced with action, humor, and ultimately, a love story.
While there are a couple scene-stealers, the real star is Christoph Waltz, who plays a charismatic dentist/bounty hunter. He and Foxx make a great pair and most scenes feature the two of them together.
Acting heavyweight Leonardo DiCaprio is predictably brilliant as plantation owner Calvin Candie. He plays the best, most charming kind of smarmy there is. Isn’t it the greatest when an actor takes a character that does unspeakable, horrible things and makes you like them? I can’t think of a role Leo has played that I’ve enjoyed more.
I should also note that Samuel L. Jackson is marvelous. I didn’t even recognize him immediately. Critics who say he always just plays versions of the same character will be silenced by his role as head house slave Stephen. This persnickety old fool is simply put, fucking delightful. I couldn’t get enough of him. Tarantino brings out the best in Jackson. Like, the opposite of what Tim Burton does for Johnny Depp.
Of course, the righteous soundtrack and cool factor are totally badass, just like all of Tarantino’s films. He goes slightly over the top with blood spatters and imagery, taking the Spaghetti Western to a new level. From the opening credits to the extra scene at the end of the closing credits, you can see how much fun he had with this one. His growth as a filmmaker is evident, although that growth does not include restraint, thankfully. I believe this to be his finest work, which is not to say it is completely flawless. His own acting is pretty bad and his scene could have been eliminated altogether. It’s the imperfect stitch in his Persian rug.
I loved this so much, I’ll be seeing it in the theater again. I unabashedly recommend this above all other 2012 movies.