• Sandeep Chandrasekar

Django Unchained Movie Review

Normally, the least interesting part of any movie are when the title credits roll because there is not much to engage the viewer in the movie. There’s an exception though. Django Unchained keeps you hooked right from the first frame of the movie. For example, the title song Django fits the initial premise perfectly. We are shown a group of slaves walking across various regions from the canyons to the deserts to the forest while the song is being played. Right when the title of the film pops up, especially when the word Unchained shows, we hear whip sound together with the back of Django having several whip marks. Also, when few of the names are being shown on the screen, we get a blurred side look of the face of Django and it focuses and clears the blur when the names disappear. Such is the genius work of the director who is none other than Quentin Tarantino.

In the film, Dr. Shultz played by Christoph Waltz is a bounty hunter searching for three brothers called the Brittle Brothers. For this he enlists the help of Django played by Jamie Foxx by buying him from the Speck Brothers.The title of the film is literally justified when Shultz unshackles Django from the chains in his ankles.

We see that Shultz is always formal in his conversations be it with Django or anyone else indicating his professionalism. Django is scared in the beginning but he slowly trains to be the fastest gun in the United States. Though it appears to be the story of how a slave becomes the best bounty hunter it actually is about how Django manages to rescue his wife in the end.

Quentin Tarantino keeps us engaged even in scenes where there are many dialogues. This he does by switching the focus between the ones conversing. For example when Django and Shultz are talking we see their faces on the screen one at a time when they are talking. The minute there’s an external presence to the conversation, he focuses out to cover the whole of the scene.

The camera work is just stunning in the movie. It doesn’t have exotic arial shots or any of those kind. Instead the camera zooms in and out very quickly in order to highlight the subject clearly but also as a breather between monotonous scenes involving a static camera position. This technique is utilised in several sequences in the movie, especially the shooting scenes.

Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz as Django and Dr. Shultz

We get glimpses of Django and his wife’s past which clearly differentiates it from the present by the use of a different colour palette plus the angular camera movements. The shots involving Django are not glorified just for the sake of a moment but to actually show that he’s starting to fight for himself and his wife. This is very noticeable since Django who previously was even afraid to lift a finger against his master now has the courage to kill people at his will.

Quentin Tarantino manages to incorporate some humour into the film having Jonah Hill as a cameo during the raid by Big Daddy. It wasn’t necessary but adding it was a nice touch.

Django encouters several obsatcles while on the path to finding his wife Broomhilda played by Kerry Washington. The initial agreement between Shultz and Django referred to only the bounty on the Brittle Brothers but as they become closer Shultz accompanies Django on his mission to save his wife.

Leonardo DiCaprio as Calvin J Candie

We are then introduced to the characters of Calvin Candie played by Leonardo Dicaprio and Stephen played by Samuel L Jackson. Django and Shultz find that Broomhilda is at Candyland as a maid. Kerry Washington has done a wonderful job of displaying fear even when she sees Django. I’m not going to delve much into the story anymore because it might feel more like a synopsis.

Leonardo DiCaprio is a perfect fit for the role of Calvin. Though he may be seen a slaver he is polite in his conversations even to Django when he learns that he is a free man. Stephen is very loyal to Calvin though he is a black and hates Django to the core.

Towards the end, the story becomes slightly predictable and we come to know that Django will somehow save his wife and escape Candyland. Shultz dies a hero by getting shot at by Calvin’s bodyguard for killing Calvin. That one time he sees the eyes of Django he realises Calvin and the other slavers do not deserve to live.

Quentin Tarantino

The last thirty to forty five minutes are purely action with guns firing and blood everywhere. Some poeple may lash at Quentin Tarantino for romanticizing violence but I feel its very realistic all around, like when the blood splatters on the cotton plants when Shultz shoots Ellis; revolvers fired only kill the person with very less blood compared to a shotgun where the person getting shot at receives a huge knockback. Most of the shots fired by Django more or less look the same. Probably the smile of Django in the last scene with Candieland blasting in the background made the movie for me. That’s the moment when Broomhilda completely feels safe. Covering all aspects in the movie will make this review too long so I’ll stop at this juncture.

Concluding, Django Unchained is one of Quentin Tarantino’s best movies purely because of its beautifully crafted scenes and straightforward story.

(I mean no racism anywhere in this review)

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