Willie Waffle is the movie critic for people who hate movie critics.

Django Unchained - Tarantino At His Best - Review

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djangounchainedposter.jpgSometimes, you get to save the best for last.  Django Unchained, being released on Christmas Day, is one of the best films of the year.  Damn the controversy, just go enjoy it. 

Set in the 1850's, Jamie Foxx stars as Django - a slave purchased by a bounty hunter, Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz), and promised his freedom if he can identify the men Schultz is looking for.  Of course, along the way, the bounty hunter realizes Django has a real knack for the job, and they decide to partner up to find Django's wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), who is on the plantation owned by the evil Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio).

Django Unchained is the quintessential Quentin Tarantino movie from the over-the-top, exaggerated violence to the repulsive characters you are fascinated by to the amazing dialogue to the way he mashes up different genres and time periods.  All of this is why it is so good, so go buy a ticket to Les Mis or Parental Guidance if you don't want to see this stuff on film.  No one is judging you.  We all have different tastes.

I think the dialogue is what makes Django Unchained so great.  Yes, you get many uses of the N-word, but it's authentic here, not exploitive or out of bounds.  I don't know if the word existed in 1858, but, because this is a mash up of spaghetti westerns, blaxploitation films (Tarantino even goes so far as to give Broomhilda the last name of Shaft to further embrace the genre.) and more, it does point out the racism and hate Django faces, and would be coming out of the mouths of these villains in this world.  No character you would like or respect utters it.    

But, the dialogue is so much more than that, especially everything given to Schultz.  Waltz is so amazing with his perfect delivery teasing the other characters who are a step or two behind him at all times.  He is playing with the lesser fools, and has such glee in portraying the character as the situations and script become absurd and majestic at alternate times, as well as the same times.  I kind of wish the Academy would look beyond Daniel Day-Lewis and Hugh Jackman to nominate Waltz for this film, but it probably won't happen.  What a shame.
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Underneath all of the bluster and irony, Django Unchained mostly is a buddy film.  Django and Schultze earn a mutual respect and love for each other that drives them to work together to attempt this crazy, outlandish, almost-certain-to-fail plot to rescue Broomhilda.  They have an honor, purpose and nobility to their actions that makes them heroes in every sense of the word.  How do you not root for them?         

DiCaprio delivers as the evil plantation owner, but I feel like the expectations exceeded his performance.  Don't get me wrong.  It's a great turn by him and it's refreshing to see him play a villain for a change, but DiCaprio didn't blow me away.  He did a good job.

Django Unchained
does get a little bit long towards the end, but I enjoyed so much of it, I am willing to overlook the minor flaw.

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4 Waffles (Out of 4)

Django Unchained is rated R for strong graphic violence throughout, a vicious fight, language and some nudity