Django Unchained (maybe a few little spoilers so avoid if you don't want to know):
Wow, where to start... Stunning, slick, dark, gory, hilarious, there probably aren't enough adjectives to describe this film. Now I am a screaming Tarantino fangirl at heart so maybe take this praise with a pinch of salt but, for me, this movie was simply unbelievable.
Slavery and plantations are a dark chapter in history and Tarantino captures this masterfully. There are moments in the film that are very unpleasant and I genuinely struggled to watch (a slave being torn apart by dogs sticks out) and this all adds to how satisfying it is to see our protagonist Django (a freed slave) seek his revenge in the most gratuitous way possible (that's no bad thing!).
Speaking of Django, Jamie Foxx does a good job portraying him. Now I'm a bit of a filmy but I'll admit that I haven't seen that much of him (Goldigger is a pretty good song though
). I enjoyed him in Jarhead but I haven't seen Ray which he got a lot of plaudits for. Despite Django Unchained being a pretty over the top film, the passion and drive Foxx brings are very believable. Despite having top billing, he is not the star of the show though. The limelight is stolen by Christoph Waltz, playing his bounty hunter mentor. Seriously, I can't describe how brilliant Waltz is. He's laugh out loud funny when he needs to be, brutally violent in that very Tarantionesque, tongue in cheek manner, an all round fabulous performance. Obviously Waltz does have the writing to thank for a lot of this (which I've always considered Tarantino strongest aspect) but it's the little things he brings to the film that really make it. Just as Hans Landa in Inglourious Basterds would suck on his pipe in a certain, menacing way, here Waltz will twirl his beard or make some other gesture that makes you think "this dude means business".
Waltz is not the only person to turn in a superb performance though. Leo di Caprio plays a fabulously camp (he drinks out of a coconut with an umbrella in it forchristsakes!) yet sinister Francophile plantation owner while Samuel L Jackson continues his inexorable love affair with Tarantino's movies, playing a down right creepy "uncle Tom" head of di Caprio's slave household who, by the conclusion, you really come to despise due to the embracing of his master's philosophy of brutality. The role has equal measures of uncomfortableness and hilarity for the audience, with, on a number of occasions, Tarantino just letting Samuel L be Samuel L in that badass way he does.
Now, Django Unchained is a long film, a smidgen under 3 hours, but that's not to say it gets dull (*cough* Les Mis *cough*). The pacing is perfect. Just when you think you can switch off, an outbreak of violence brings you crashing back down to earth. The build up to the denouement (I use that term loosely as there is still maybe half an hour, forty minutes of the film left at this point) is ridiculously tense and a lot of that come down to the fore mentioned brilliant writing. You know fairy cakes's going to go down, you just don't know when, real edge of the seat stuff.
There's many more things I could go into (Jonah Hill's hilarious cameo as a leader of a calamitous KKK posse, di Caprios's character's downright weird relationship with his sister are examples) but I want to keep this relatively brief. Go and see it. I dare you, I double dare you not to like it.
As an aside, there something I'd like to address. In light of recent events, violence in the media has come under an intense spotlight. This film has been faced with critics saying it "desensitises" viewers to violence. Personally I think nothing could be further from the truth. The majority of the "violence" on show in this movie is nothing like real life violence. The gun fights are over the top, they're stylised, and, while not slapstick, they are, at times, pretty funny (a character flying backwards spectacularly when shot and gallons of fake blood spurting everywhere). Then again, the more realistic scenes of violence, the slave beatings for example, are, as previously mentioned, horrible to watch. You are not desensitised to the suffering you are seeing, you feel it yourself and, I tell you, it isn't pleasant or enjoyable in any sense.
"When the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea."
"It's hammer time!"
British Driver Supporter (and Daniel Ricciardo)
Greg Moore - Dan Wheldon