A piece like Django Unchained could have been made into a big issue movie- a human interest story ditched into a noir timeline and appended with high pitch metallic music. Enter QT [Quentin Tarantino] and all one hears is genre, genre! QT has struck dynamite directing this Southern American western action movie set in late 1850s before the civil war, a time when slavery was widespread and legal.
A certain German Dr. King Schultz (Christopher Waltz), a dentist turned Bounty hunter comes in search of a slave who can identify the Brittle Brothers and Django Freeman (Jamie Foxx) serves the purpose. Together they hunt down and kill the Brittle Brothers and Schultz offers his freedom as per the arrangement. A free black man in a white man’s land, Django focuses on rescuing his beautiful Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) who was tortured and sold by the late Brittle Brothers. Schultz discovers that she was sold to one Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprico) of Candie Land (sounds more like a Katy Perry album!)Schultz devises an elaborate plan and it works out pretty well until Candie’s trusted (butler) senior slave Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson) infers a spark between the two love birds and the rest is bang, bang and a huge house crumbling bang!
The film is a violently epic entertainer. This time Tarantino has opted for a linear narration barring a few flashbacks. You could say Django isn’t as appealing as his earlier hits like Kill Bill. Speaking of character building, QT is amazing in terms of how he builds up a character and cheers to the actors who brought it to life. You really don’t know what will happen next while dealing with characters like Dr. King Schultz. Earlier, in the film Schultz spills out his hatred for slavery. As the movie unchains, you sense a bonding between the two opposites. Christopher Waltz makes for an extremely loving actor with his impeachable intonation of dialogues and witty mannerisms. Jamie Foxx as Django fits the role to a T and Kerry Washington as the petite and beautiful Broomhilda smiles her way into the audience. (It was really awful to watch her being lashed like that!) Leonardo as the menacing Calvin Candie engrosses with his charmingly wicked looks and brutal acting. DiCaprico’s character is amusing. He wants to be addressed Monsieur but he doesn’t speak French. Samuel L.Jackson delivers a fine performance as Steven, the old, loud mouthed, cunning and loyal butler. Samuel acted with much simplicity and his easy access to swear language makes him a perfect actor for the role!
The film contains super-duper one liners and brilliantly placed comic situations. The scene where a group of horsemen arrive wearing white masks (aka Ku Klux Klan style!), a funny conversation rises between one guy cursing he can’t see through the holes and the other guy whose wife worked all day to make those masks! The same sarcastic comic sense can be revolted back to Bastards where Hitler suffered humiliation in the hands of Tarantino. (He makes historical villains look like comic strips!)
Candie owns Broomhilda. Django is out to rescue her. Now he and Dr. Schultz have $12,000 cash through their bounty hunting exploits. An additional detail: Candie’s true fetish is Mandingo fighting (Slaves fight each other to death!). We have our beloved Dr. Schultz sketch a convoluted plan to attract Candie by showing interest in his fighter named Eskimo Joe and travel to Candy land under the false pretext of including Broomhilda as part of the transaction at a later stage. Now most of you would have thought Django could have just offered the $12,000 for Broomhilda. Let me free up that troubled mind of yours-
Candie is a stubborn white man highly qualified in eccentric behavior and such a man requires drop-dead amusements to arouse his curiosity and attention. Schultz even explains in the movie that an ordinary transaction will never tempt him. Candie requires a tantalizing deal. (That’s one half of the answer!) Or we could consider the curious nature of Dr. Schultz, the man causing mayhem with his troubled sense of hypothesis. A total control loser and that’s why he ends up getting killed! Earlier in the film, the duo arrives at a bar. If you remember the scene, Schultz specifically tells the Inn keeper to bring the sheriff not the marshal! Well, what can I say? He likes making complex plans!
Someone once said A movie ain’t classy if not for the soundtrack. Who can think of Pulp Fiction sans Dick Dale’s Miserlou? Being the Executive Music Producer of Django…, Tarantino did some homework looking in around his personal LP records for inspiration. QT has extensively focused on classic westerns paying homage to the old Wild West films. From strumming guitars with well orchestrated chorus to rap songs with western influences, the soundtrack is a perfect 5/5. The opening theme song Django by Luis Bacalov & Rocky Roberts is swashbuckling and a perfect for starter! The female lead in Lo Chiamavano King” (His Name is King) by Luis Bacalov & Edda Dell’ Orso is quite alluring but “Freedom “by Anthony Hamilton & Elayna Boynto is easily my favorite. This number could be the high light of the film with Elayna’s soulful voice matching Antony’s gentle and grating music. “100 Black Coffins” by Rick Ross- thought it’s a rap song; it strikes the western chords and matches the close up side shot of a horse-riding Django. We have John Legend singing another poignant country song “Who did that to you?” I liked the rendition of “call the police, call the coroner.”The way music has been edited to fit specific scenes is pure magic. Ultimately it’s an album carefully constructed and will linger till the next Tarantino movie! Do yourself a favor. Pick the theatre with the best surround audio. And when the DVDs come out, get a piece of audio system. The cheaper they are, the better they sound! Seriously! Watch the movie again just for its music score.
Tarantino has found a new-fangled way of story-telling letting go of his quirky quotations! Tarantino and violence go hand in hand. A Tarantino film devoid of violence is like a well without water, a chips packet without air, a Katy Perry song without.! (Ah…Never mind). The thing is most of his scripts never demand such world war reviving bloodshed. All he does is throw a scene to showcase his signature style! Django is a custom skin package of all kinds of brutality ranging from whippings, brandings, and graphic blood spills to dog attacks, mass scale annihilation and a possible castration! But that doesn’t weaken the movie. Perhaps Tarantino is just as same as Dr. King Schultz, a control loser over violence! He can’t resist it!
It’s a grave offence to ignore such a classic and don’t miss the coolest cameo appearance by the original Django Franco Nero!
1. QT actually wrote the role of Django with Will Smith in mind.
2. Jamie Foxx used his own horse Cheetah named Tony in the movie.
3. Jamie Foxx and Kerry Washington portrayed a married couple in an award winning movie Ray.
4. Dynamite wasn’t invented until 1867 but this film (set in 1858) features dynamite in several scenes.
5. QT has a cameo. Not one but TWO! He plays one of the guys in the white masks and also as an Australian slaver transporting Django before the climax. [Source: IMDb]
6. This is just one of my assumptions- The King in Dr. King Schultz could refer to Martin Luthur King as Schultz is the only character with a strong dislike for slavery.
7. A headless Django is reflected in the mirror when he confronts the Brittle Brothers.
8. A track by Frank Ocean didn’t make the cut. So he released it via his blog http://frankocean.tumblr.com/post/38601782955/django-was-ill-without-it