Cinema Monolith

Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.

Django Unchained

Django Unchained - poster red

Cinema Monolith: 8/10 Film Reel
IMDb: 8.5/10
The Arizona Republic: **** out of 5

Released on December 25, 2012
Rated R
165 minutes

Directed by Quentin Tarantino

Written by Quentin Tarantino

Cast: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson, Walton Goggins, Dennis Christopher, Don Johnson, James Remar, Bruce Dern, Jonah Hill, Franco Nero, M.C. Gainey, Russ Tamblyn, Amber Tamblyn, Tom Wopat, Don Stroud, Lee Horsley, Cooper Huckabee, Robert Carradine, Ted Neeley

I must admit, I think Quentin Tarantino is improving with age. After I so easily dismissed his early work, I find myself now enjoying—and respecting—his more recent efforts: both volumes of Kill Bill, Inglourious Basterds, and now Django Unchained, an entertaining, stylistic, and audacious revisionist spaghetti Western that was a whole mess of fun, and quite possibly my favorite of anything Tarantino has ever directed.

Jamie Foxx is the slave Django, who teams up with bounty hunter Christoph Waltz to help track a trio of murderous brothers, then rescue Django’s wife from Leonardo DiCaprio’s brutal plantation owner. Filmed with the typical Tarantino trademarks present—overboard violence, prochronisms, and a ’60s and ’70s tone—and a feel for the period and style of the genre, Django earned its keep with its all-around solid acting and smart dialogue, especially as delivered by Waltz, who once again shined in a Tarantino film, and graced his character with wonderfully eloquent diction and an underlying sense of danger and hostility.

But it was the performance of Samuel L. Jackson, as DiCaprio’s house slave Stephen, that nearly stole the show, a performance that for my money was—along with Waltz’s—definitely worth an Oscar nomination. And believe it or not, at first I didn’t even realize the character was Jackson! And though Foxx and DiCaprio were quite excellent in their roles, it was the work of Waltz and Jackson that truly had me riveted.

At nearly three hours in length, Django never lost my interest, and time and time again I found myself anxious to discover where each scene and story turn would lead me. If you can accept the blood (I loved that plantation shoot-out!), the subject matter, and the heavy use of the language of the time, you should have a blast with this. A nice addition to the Tarantino catalog.  (8/10)

Django Unchained

4 comments on “Django Unchained

  1. Tyson Carter

    I’m trying to avoid reviews as such, and just checking the scores. Good to see you rated it high Todd. 🙂


  2. Todd Benefiel

    Thanks for taking a peek, Tyson! Let me know what you thought after you see it…or maybe I’ll just come over to your site soon and find out myself!


  3. Julie Dunning

    I wondered if you would see this and am pleasantly surprised to see your review. Based on what I’ve read about the film, this is definitely your type of movie. Glad you enjoyed it!


  4. Todd Benefiel

    Thanks Julie! And thanks for checking out the review!


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