You already know what to expect from a Quentin Tarantino movie. In his seventh outing as writer-director, Tarantino reliably delivers the high body count, fantastically bloody violence, sharp dialogue and laughs that we have come to expect and look forward to. After a hard week at work, on a Saturday night we want to be entertained. And Tarantino sure knows how to deliver.
Jamie Foxx plays Django, a freed slave looking for his wife in the slave plantations in the American Deep South just a couple of years before the Civil War. He accepts an offer from King Shultz (very memorably played by Christolph Waltz who was brilliant in Inglorious Basterds as Dr Hans Landa) to team up as bounty hunters. ‘You mean I get paid to kill white folk? What’s not to like?’ remarks Django.
The result is Tarantino’s tribute to the Spaghetti Western genre. While Foxx and Waltz play the role of the slightly mysterious good guys, Leonardo DiCaprio goes against type to play the sinister plantation owner holding Django’s wife as a slave. Perhaps the best turn is from Samuel L Jackson as a truly malevolent Uncle Tom character.
We are rightfully not spared the horror suffered by the slaves. We see a terrified slave being ripped to shreds by dogs and slaves being forced to fight each other to the death in ‘Mandingo’ fights purely for the entertainment of the plantation owners. It can’t have been an easy decision to show this on the screen given the sensitivities of the huge American movie market. Tarantino deserves credit for airing this on the big screen.
Tarantino himself appears in a cameo role that has been mocked by a number of reviewers as embarrassing. I thought it was a really funny performance as was a great scene featuring the Ku Klux Klan as a bunch of incompetent would-be lynchers. If you want to be entertained and see Django kick some racist white ass, then don’t miss Django Unchained.