It's quite an accomplishment to be cinematic adjective; Tarantino. (Or for pretenders to the visceral throne, Tarantinoesque.) Particularly when the Director/Writer is so young and with relatively few films on his resume.
There is pressure on Mr. Tarantino to feed the descriptor, or none whatsoever when he makes films to amuse solely himself. The latter is the primary issue with the spaghetti-western-cum racist-tome direct from the Antebellum South, "Django Unchained."
One expects the liberal use of blood squibs in a Tarantino, and "Django..." will not disappoint. (Tarantino's famed over-length as well.) What's missing in "Django..." is the cleverness and surprise in previous efforts: "Reservoir Dogs," "Pulp Fiction," and the lyrical "Kill Bills." The re-imaging of the War film so brilliantly accomplished in "Inglorious Basterds" makes the identically conceived "Django..." a self-parody of Tarantino. Just move the action back about ninety years and from France to America. Even place a scene using a foreign language as a way to speak openly in case eavesdroppers are within earshot. Hire the same pivotal character. Add the same cartoonish elements. And deliver the blood. This time add a few more laughs. (Slavery is far funnier a topic than the slaughter of millions of Jews.)
As a writer, Mr. Tarantino's pen is running out of fresh ink. That the important issue of racism (and his favorite motivation - revenge) is the spine of "Django Untamed" does not excuse this film is merely a number of scenes tossed ascreen that do not make a convincing, complete film. Mr. Tarantino is listening to the hype and lost (at least with "Django...") the ability to tell a good story without requiring the audience to hold what's dear to Tarantino to their breasts as well. Spaghetti westerns are a cheap genre from long ago that were mostly awful - save a few starring Eastwood. The corollary follows: "Django..." is a conceit by a man venerating crap. The result is crap. And that's insulting to an audience. (Using titles from other films as illustrative of the genre for his current film is also becoming an annoyance.)
The story in a nutshell: 1858, slave and wife are branded then separated when they are sold. Waltz, a Bounty Hunter, finds slave to help him track down some baddies. Slave becomes adept at Bounty Hunting and he and Waltz conspire to save slave's wife from another plantation owner. Then Shosanna runs a Parisian movie theater and hatches a plot to kill all the important Nazis.
Samuel L Jackson is terrific as the self-loathing Black Slave Supervisor nastier than any White. (And whiter as well.)
Jamie Foxx is a comatose-robot-killing-machine with a fast gun and little depth. (No wonder bigger Black stars turned this role down. Probably due to embarrassment at the portrayal of Blacks.) Watlz' sympathetic-to-slaves 180 turn from Hans Landa in "Inglorious Basterds" is serviceable yet will certainly garner another Oscar.
DiCaprio chews not only the scenery but some furniture as well. It's a fun turn but not enough to save the film.
Tarantino populates smaller roles with TV faves from formative years when his nose was three inches from a Philco. (Casting these has-beens also saves a lot of dough.)
"Django Unchained" is rife with lots and lots of padding and self-indulgence galore. A few more films like this and Tarantino will be the Director of whom it is asked, "Hey, whatever happened to that guy who made those really bloody movies? He used to be good."
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