Director: Quentin Tarantino
Lead Actors: Samuel L Jackson, Kerry Washington, Jamie Foxx
On a dark cold, night in the middle of Texas, as slaves are being transported from here to there, they are intercepted by a dentist (Christopher Waltz) who happens to be in search of one of the slaves, Django (Jamie Foxx) who has help him to the whereabouts of some of the ruffians who have a bounty on their heads.
Suffice it to say, those who are transporting the slaves don't like this, and Waltz' character doesn't like that they don't like this, and he shoots them. Dead. And Django is unchained.
What follows is almost a father-son dynamic (familiar territory for Tarantino, who is reportedly estranged from his own father) between Django and Waltz' character. Waltz teaches Django the trade of assassinating those wanted for ransom. In exchange, Django helps him run his business more effectively, thus increasing profits.
But, as in ALL stories, there is a girl! In this particular story, she is played by the stunning Kerry Washington. And, she is being held captive on a slave plantation inappropriately named "Candy Land". As a condition of Django lending his services to Waltz' business, it is agreed that Waltz help Foxx retrieve his love from the evil grips of the plantation owner, played disgustingly by no less than Leanardo Dicapprio.
Who Would Like it
Fans of Westerns. Fans of good cinematography. Fans of Tarantino. In my humble opinion, this is much better than Inglorious Bastards, which was very popular! It is much more action packed than Jackie Brown and much less weighted by philosophy than Kill BIll.
Who Might not Like It
Well, those opposed to bloody senseless comedic violence. Spike Lee.
This movie brings up one of the darkest parts of American history with very little apology. It uncovers wounds in America that still haven't been completely dealt with. Namely . . . race. If you take this beyond anything other than a good movie, you are confronted with some very complicated issues which are also brought up in Lincoln, so try to take it with a grain of salt!
Scenes involving Dicapprio - his juvenile appeal worked for the plantation owner who had very clearly inherited everything and was not running it that well. Don Johnson was pure love as Bid Daddy, another plantation owner. I wonder how it felt for Don Johnson to actually act now that he is thirty years into his acting career.
Kerry Washington was whipped and thrown into a dark hot box as a slave, and she met these horrors well as an actress, while still remaining lovely. Waltz was pure genius! It is rumored that he dislocated his pelvic bone during the filming of this monster chaos of a movie. But watching him is like watching a highly trained Shakespeare actor practice his craft. Amazing. If he were wincing in pain, it simply looked like he was deep in thought. He deserves an Oscar.
As does Samuel L. Jackson, as the head of N____ of Candyland, the lowest of the low according to Django. Jackson is the Karl Rove to Dicapprio's Bush, the right hand, the brains without the final say. Being black himself he senses out coups before they happen on the plantation, and is twice as harsh on perpetrators to the Candy Land code.
He is amazing. Again, not sure how he will be criticized by the African American community, who seem to be very sensitive about some things. But that makes this role in this movie that much more admirable.
Foxx is great. That charisma which made him right as WIllie Beaman in Any Given Sunday is right here and he looks right at home in hero's garb in this shoot em up Western.
Photography is great. Script is up to snuff. This is a fine movie directed and written by a film genius who knows westerns much more than some of us know our jobs.
Watch this, enjoy this, and dress like you were going to be front row in a Gallagher show because to borrow from Paul Thomas Anderson, there will be blood!
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