Cinema-Maniac: Django Unchained (2012) Review

So I didn’t love Django Unchained as much as my friends. I admire the bold move of Tarantino to accurately present the once common despicable crime that is slavery. Aside from the acting I cannot give the same level of praise to everything else in the film. So let’s talk about “Boss Nigger“, I mean “The Wild Bunch“. No I mean Sergio Leone’s, wait, he’s not involve. Combinations of several westerns is more like it.

Django Unchained is about a German bounty hunter helping a freed slave rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner. Now this might come as a shock, but this movie is not about the title character Django at all. It’s about Dr. King Schultz who gets the most dialogue, the most development, and has most the focus in the plot until the climax. It baffles me why Tarantino didn’t just make Dr. Schultz the protagonist. He represent the people who weren’t racist during this time and his bold actions to help a black man that comes with no social reward. He is often criticize for the unorthodox way in which in he treats Djanog. Therefore always constantly putting his life in danger, but I might be reading to much into it. Even despite the era of thought during this time Dr. Schultz helps Django become who he is. If it wasn’t for Dr. Schultz Django would have flat out fail in his revenge scheme.

Now lets talk about Django who I felt wasn’t fully thought out. The motivation of a man wanting to save his wife is nothing new, but it is a solid motivation in which an entire movie can revolve around. The problem with Django motivation is his wife is not developed. I need more than the fact that she’s Django wife and is a slave. She could be Django child hood lover? She could have prevented Django from committing suicide in the harsh reality presented? Without that one thing that brought them together ever mentioned or shown it feels more like a long sub plot. Another thing I didn’t like was this character was not fleshed out. I know he was a former slave, he learned how to shoot from Dr. Schultz, has a wife, is somewhat literate, and that’s it. Am I suppose to assume his family were slaves. If I am then this is an area that is unexplored. We see what slavery does to Django as a adult, but what about through the eyes of a kid. There must have been something that triggers Django to act maturely in his racist environment. Surely Django wasn’t meant to be the protagonist because if he was then he pales in comparisons to Dr. Schultz whose is the film actual hero.

The positive about the plot is showing slavery for what it was. A part of history that we can not ignore. The film boldly shows slavery instead of covering it up. There are scenes dedicated to illustrate how sadistic some of these slave owners were. The harsh reality of slavery is presented in front of our eyes. This is how the world was and in some part still is. If you dare complain about the usage of the “N” word, the brutal treatment of slaves on screen, and so forth you might as well complain about the Holocaust. I’m getting into touchy territory here, but simply put if you can’t look at this film content with an open mindset. You are choosing to ignore what is an essential part of human history whether or not you choose to accept that is your own decision.

Allot of people already said this, but this could use some better editing. I liked the hysterical KKK scene in which the Klansmen question the efficiency of their mask. Though did that add anything to the plot? No, it could been left out and it would have not made a difference. Some scenes could have been removed and made the film stronger. Some issues are brought up and solved very quickly. It feels like watching a collection of several movie serials edited together. I didn’t like the choice of music here. Not that the songs were bad, but it kept reminded me of other westerns I have already saw. The opening credit sequence led me to believe that I was watching Sergio Corbucci’s “Django”. The choice of music can add allot to your movies, but taking music from other westerns makes it difficult to concentrate of the one your currently viewing. It makes for a good tribute though, but that too also reminds you of what you possibly already seen.

After viewing this I do question the Oscar nominations? Why didn’t Christopher Waltz get a nomination for best leading actor. He clearly surpassed his co-star Jamie Foxx in every conceivable way. Waltz felt like the film gripping hero whereas Jamie Fox felt like his underwhelming sidekick. I never for once thought Jamie Fox was the leading actor. Though that’s more of an issue with the writing then his acting. Leonardo DiCaprio is among the best of the supporting cast. I know some of you are thinking “you moron Christopher Waltz is a supporting actor”. That might be the general census, but from what I saw Christopher Waltz is the leading man not Jamie Foxx. DiCaprio perfectly embraces his twisted, but yet charismatic antagonist. He’s the best kind of villains, the ones you love to hate. Some hated Quentin Tarantino appearance, but I didn’t mind. I enjoyed watching what happened to him. It’s as if he knows deep inside he should made Christopher Waltz the protagonist. Top notch acting here helps a great deal to get engross in the film film too. Many great lines are utter and line delivery nothing short of terrific.

Now I know that mostly complained about this movie, but that’s only because I’ve seen this kind of stuff in other westerns. The body count is not that big. It is bloody, but that doesn’t make it as violent as other Westerns I saw. Here it’s just for fun. The dialogue still has it charms, but to many scenes are far too familiar to me. I didn’t expect anything original from Tarantino, go look up “City of Fire” to know what I mean. I expected him to deliver on a film that showcase his own vision not his inspirations. All in all I found this disappointing, but it is a good film. Not a great Western though since I’ve seen many of those and what I saw here didn’t impress me as much. Take “Django Unchained” for what it is. A collection of Western films, music scores, and style of several filmmaking role into one film. Not a bad deal, but the director own vision is nowhere to be found.

7/10

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