However I would like to slice it, I just cannot stay unbiased when I think about Tarantino. I just can’t get over the fact that this man in some way guided me through my adolescence (together with some other fellas) and truly ignited the love for film that burns within me. Or should I say, he let me take some of his fire and make it my own. If you’re looking for anyone who simply lives for the movies – look no further. Quentin Tarantino is the quintessential (Quentinessential?) film junkie. I mean he’s a real crack-head when it comes to movies. He loves his references, he winks to other film junkies out there all the time and he’d take any genre, bring it back to life and preach it. Say what you want, love him or hate him – but you cannot deny him that. He loves what he does and his work really lets that feeling sparkle.
I think we all have to agree on the premise that Tarantino’s films are always kind of special. He’s not exactly a prolific writer or director, he takes his time, but his projects inevitably provoke excitement. What’s it going to be about? Who’s going to star in it? Is it going to be bloodier than the previous one? (Of course it would, I’ll get to that in a second) And most importantly: The quotes. Gimme them quotes. Maybe not all of Tarantino’s pieces are as quotable as “Pulp Fiction”, but at the heart of every single one of his films is the dialogue – sharp, fast, witty, dark, provocative, controversial, offensive and hilarious. And in this regard, Tarantino never fails. He kept the bar high with “Django” and he brought it home like a champ.
Right, so “Django Unchained” is in essence a Tarantino’s play at the western genre. It’s a story of a slave named Django (Jamie Foxx) who teams up with a bounty hunter Dr King Schultz (once again after “Inglorious…” – mind-blowing Christoph Waltz). They wander through the mid-1800’s America killing baddies in a quest to reunite Django with his wife. Yes, the gist of the story can be nicely condensed into two sentences. If you need more than that, you wouldn’t really be describing a western.
As I already stated before, Tarantino’s films are always unique. And this one is no different. You watch it and you know it has Tarantino written all over it. “Django Unchained” is not just a western. It’s a wonderful parade of fantastic dialogue, unforgettable acting (Leo DiCaprio – who is my personal favourite to take Al Pacino’s place at the right hand of God, Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson… Let’s not forget a ridiculously hilarious episode of Don Johnson’s), gory violence and just about enough foul language to keep you giggling like a school-girl through-out the whole movie. And while on the subject of bad language, since the story takes place in the slave-driving southern states in the 1850’s, “Django” boasts a really exceptional usage of the word ginger. For those of you who don’t know who Tim Minchin is or are resistant to comedy just watch this and you’ll know what I mean by that. Anyway, what I think is very notable, is the fact that good ol’ Quentin has managed to convince me of the comedic potential of the word ginger. Yes, within certain boundaries it just stops being all that offensive and instead greatly serves to elevate the dialogue. Somehow it makes the characters seem more realistic and hilariously grotesque at the same time – or should I say more Tarantino-esque?
So, there couldn’t be a Tarantino movie without a massive pool of blood. And so it seems that my dear Quentin is either placing bets against the audience or pushing blindly in order to see where the boundaries are. So far I think he’s miles away from getting me to say “I think I’ve had enough, Quentin, thank you very much”, as the violence in his movies is purposefully comedic, surreal and cheap-looking. When you look back, you’d see that a trend emerges with his next film being more bloody then the last one. And “Django” nicely fits into this equation with its jolly fountains of really fake-looking blood and a slap-stick touch to most of the gore-containing sequences.
Overall, it’s a very solid film and on a scale of Deathproof-to-Pulp Fiction I’d give it a solid Kill Bill. It most definitely won’t become a cult movie (not to me at least) even though it is very quotable. Tarantino’s cameo is unforgettable as usual (but this time it is more, shall I say, bombastic). Looking at the Oscar nominations I’m rather doubtful “Django” actually stands a chance against some of the Oscar powerhouses like “Lincoln” – and having non-gingers calling gingers ‘gingers’ (wink) walk left and right on the screen won’t really steal the academy’s hearts – but I will retain hope while silently crossing my fingers for Quentin to finally get his Best Picture Oscar. What? I love a good underdog… However, I’ll be very sad if Christoph Waltz does not get the Oscar for his role because he is just about perfect. Again.
What more can I say? “Django” is a very good movie and for anyone who enjoys what Tarantino does to genres, it’s a must-see. And I’ll have you know that having watched it I am not so sure that ‘cool guys don’t look at explosions’ any more. Oh, no. Some of them do. They just wear shades.