‘Django Unchained’ adds elements of Western genre to Tarantino’s catalog
The western film genre undergoes a makeover in Quentin Tarantino’s latest offering, “Django Unchained.” Written and directed by Tarantino, the film follows his formula of offensive language, gratuitous violence and token nudity. The only divergences from the recipe are the cowboy storyline and the absence of samurai swords.
Django (Jamie Foxx) is a slave who is freed from captivity by Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz), a dentist-turned-bounty-hunter who later recruits and trains Django to assist him in his bounty-hunting endeavors. During their adventures, the two men become friends and Schultz ultimately agrees to help Django free his wife from the clutches of evil plantation owner Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio).
This film boasted top-notch actors, and it didn’t disappoint in that regard. Samuel L. Jackson delivers an excellent performance in his supporting role as Stephen, Candie’s head servant. The storyline was interesting and thought-provoking. Quentin Tarantino also has his token cameo and dies in one of the most outrageous ways possible.
“Django” will not disappoint true Tarantino fans. It has all of his normal ingredients: dialogue, dialogue, dialogue and the bloodbath. It also has all the shock value that his followers have come to expect from the man who brought us such cult classics as “Pulp Fiction,” “Reservoir Dogs,” and “Kill Bill.”
But the movie was also a little disappointing. The use of the N-word was rampant in the dialogue, grossly overusing any artistic license. It was understood this was a period picture and the story takes place in the pre-Civil War era; however, it is doubtful the word was used half as much as this movie portrays. Not only was the dialogue offensive, but there were some scenes that should have been written better or cut entirely.
Some elements were particularly disturbing. Toward the middle of the movie, an African-American man was savagely ripped apart by a pack of rabid dogs for trying to defy his master. Another scene depicts “snipping,” a practice used by plantation owners that involves castration of disobedient slaves. This torture scene did nothing to move the story, and while Jamie Foxx’s junk is impressive, who really wants to see that?
Overall, “Django Unchained” does not completely fail as a work of entertainment. It’s a good movie that serves as a continuation of Tarantino’s mission to bring back elements of the 1970s in all its gritty glory, larger-than-life characters and justice-driven endings. The film is reminiscent of the gunslinger movies of old — Jamie Foxx is no Clint Eastwood, but it works.