Wednesday, January 09, 2013
It’s not as good as INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (hard to construct a more pleasing ending than shooting then blowing up Hitler) but it’s still good Tarantino fun.
Tarantino loves making genre pictures and this time he tackled the spaghetti western. But of course with his own unique spin – so it’s really a spaghetti comedy gorefest western. Sounds like a lot to jam into one movie but when the running time is 2:45 you don’t have to do much jamming. I enjoyed DJANGO UNCHAINED but if I have one tiny quibble it’s that the film is WAY TOO FUCKING LONG. By a half hour or forty-five minutes. There’s a whole middle “bounty hunters at work” section that could be lifted in whole and no one other than Quentin fanboys would ever miss it. When thirty minutes can be replaced by one title that says: Six Months Later you know it’s not good storytelling.
But typical of Tarantino film are wonderful quirky performances. Christoph Waltz, who won an Oscar for his last QT movie, returns in another meaty role. He’s a German bounty hunter – a good guy in this one – but with a gift of gab and a goofy accent that is somewhere between Werner Klemperer and Slim Pickens.
Jamie Foxx as slave-turned-bounty hunter/action hero/munitions expert Django is fine although I can think of fifteen Will Smiths/Wesley Snipes/etc. who could have played it just as well.
Much more fun was Leo DiCaprio as the sleazy plantation owner. You could just tell that Leo was having a ball playing this dastardly character. He did everything but twiddle a mustache.
Don Johnson appears briefly made up to look like Colonel Sanders. And in the most thankless role in the picture, poor Kerry Washington plays Django’s slave wife who he’s trying to reclaim. The sum total of her screen time is getting whipped, beaten, and thrown naked in a hole. Not what she expected I’m sure when she signed on as the love interest.
Also, if you look carefully, every western character actor still drinking sarsaparilla shows up in one scene or another. Bruce Dern is back!
Viewer beware: The “N” word is uttered more times than all the Richard Pryor stand up albums put together. And the violence does get graphic at times. This is not a film to see if you’re afraid of dogs.
But like most Tarantino movies, there’s almost a cartoon quality to it. And warning number two: He makes everyone from the South look like complete idiots. The hillbillies in JUSTIFIED are Mensa members compared to these cretins. Maybe the funniest scene in any movie this year is the KKK lynch party all bitching about their hoods.
If you view DJANGO UNCHAINED strictly as escapist entertainment and you like Quentin Tarantino you will probably dig this movie. You may even like DJANGO'S HEROES when it comes to television.
By Ken Levine at 6:00 AM