Django Unchained is a masterful pastiche of character and story told in the format of a slave-era film derivative of old spaghetti westerns. Quentin Tarantino has written and directed himself yet another film worthy of masterpiece status, his latest film being a truly unique movie that no one else could ever have made. Django Unchained is bold and wonderfully shot, taking place on a grand scale in the southern United States. Tarantino has written such a compelling tale of revenge, violence, and love, and as a director he gets top-notch performances from all of his cast members. Django Unchained is Tarantino at the very top of his form, and this film is one of the best of the year for sure.
Taking place in the south two years before the Civil War, Django Unchained is unfiltered in its full absorption into the world of slavery. While Tarantino wants to shove the audience into this horrific time of American history, this isn’t a film about slavery. Instead it’s a film about characters and their stories that takes place in slavery states. Tarantino and cinematographer Robert Richardson choose a collage of vivid settings across the southern states, and a majority of the shots are outdoors, frequently showing large gleaming shots of mountains, cotton plantations, or desert. This film is one of Tarantino’s most visual yet, the tangible world being created through an almost surrealist image of the south, utilizing a combination of archaic kickback camera techniques and modern hip-hop music. Django Unchained is a spaghetti western for our time, a violent and at times comedic approach to storytelling that is wildly entertaining and expertly executed.
Every actor in this movie becomes his or her respective role so completely that we fully believe in this story. Leonardo DiCaprio steals his scenes as the horrifying plantation owner, his talent as an actor with deep sense of character being displayed better here than in possibly any of his other work, he will most certainly get an Oscar nomination for his performance here. Samuel L. Jackson plays the house-slave Stephen so precisely that we almost forget who the actors behind the make up really is, and Christoph Waltz is once again engrossing and terrific in his spewing of Tarantino’s killer dialogue. Jamie Foxx is convincing as Django, the quiet hero, but he is surrounded by so much talent that his performance is at times understated.
While Django Unchained is in a way unlike anything Tarantino has done before, there are still so many parallels to his other work. Here we see a writer/director who instead of slumping after many successful films, is instead improving upon his own formula to create a magical and original movie that no one else could possibly dream up. His actors all give tremendous performances, and the dialogue is witty as well as tense. Django Unchained is certainly one of the best films of the year, as well as one of the finest works by the superb Quentin Tarantino.