Saturday, December 29, 2012

Django Unchained

Spaghetti Western—or is a Spaghetti Southern more appropriate?—about slave-turned-bounty hunter Foxx and companion/mentor dentist-turned-bounty hunter Waltz making their flesh-for-cash living, ultimately ending up at the Candyland Plantation to rescue Django's estranged wife Washington. Very much a Tarantino film, delivering homages to the genre in the same manner as "KILL BILL: VOL. 2" and "INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS"; however, this addition to Tarantino's impressive filmography as director/writer is possibly the least dialogue-driven, even more so than "KILL BILL: VOL. 1". To some who did not care for or are not familiar with "RESERVOIR DOGS" and "PULP FICTION", this may not be a disappointment. On the other hand, viewers/fans who are very much familiar with Tarantino's style of making full use of his actors' words, expressions and interactions—a style which has gained him much praise—might be slightly let down that "DJANGO UNCHAINED" is more about visuals and less about emotion. Well-acted, with plantation owner DiCaprio and his head slave Jackson offering the most memorable performances. Foxx is great, but delivers an interchangeable performance; and Waltz is more than charming, but his talents are put to very similar use as in "INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS". Neither Foxx nor Waltz should be criticized as they obviously gave it their best; perhaps the problem is that the two lead roles are two-and-a-half-dimensional characters—not quite two-dimensionally dull and not quite three-dimensionally gripping… they are both caught in that invisible world between script and screen. The film's flaws are not quite apparent until the climatic sequence, a point of the film that changes from slick and stylish to complete sloppiness. Did they use red dye and varnish for the blood or what? But even from a critical standpoint, at least 75% of the film is terrific and most shortcomings are only skin deep.