“Django Unchained” delivers with overwhelming success

By Rachel Arlin

Flickr/Physical Flaws

Having five Oscar nominations already under its belt, “Django Unchained” qualifies as an accomplished movie. And with a great cast, including Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington, Christoph Waltz and Leonardo DiCaprio, it has an excellent foundation for success.

“Django Unchained” has already been nominated for five Golden Globes, claiming two for best screenplay by Quentin Tarantino, while Waltz usurped DiCaprio for best supporting actor. With the Golden Globes often a precursor for Oscar success, “Django Unchained” certainly has a good chance of winning more accolades. The two standout performances are from Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson, who is despicably funny as DiCaprio’s right-hand man.

This Tarantino film has already surpassed the box office earnings of its 2009 predecessor “Inglorious Basterds.” Although high earnings are no indication of a movie’s quality, it does show the popularity of the film and how quickly it’s spreading by word of mouth. This film was not advertised substantially compared to most big productions these days, but since there are many Tarantino fans, there was a lot of anticipation around its release.

“Django Unchained” was released on Christmas Day, which paid off, as the hype surrounding the film played into its box office numbers. It’s a great film for the whole family – except children, of course – to enjoy. Some people even left their traditional Christmas meals early just to watch it.

The film is made from the incredible, crazy and imaginative mind of Tarantino. The story takes place in the Deep South, pre-Civil War era, where Django (Foxx), a slave, is bought out by a German bounty hunter named Dr. King Schultz (Waltz). Schultz agrees to grant Django his freedom as long as he accompanies Schultz in his bounty hunting job. He then agrees to an arrangement with Schultz to find his wife, Broomhilda (Washington), who was last seen on a rich landowners farm, belonging to Calvin Candie (DiCaprio).

As with much of Tarantino’s work, this movie is both incredibly violent and incredibly funny. “Django Unchained” pays homage to many films, but specifically comedy western “Blazing Saddles” and 70’s blaxploitation films featuring Fred Williamson. It does not matter whether audiences have seen these influences, but it is enjoyable to see where the film takes its direction from.

The film is shot in various styles to complement the intricate plot; some scenes are like a traditional western, while action scenes take advantage of amazing special effects and innovative camera angles.

“Django Unchained” is a long movie, with a run time of two hours and 45 minutes, but it does not drag on and remains enjoyable throughout. Tarantino does his best to ensure that his viewers will have no lingering thoughts or guesses, ending the film off with an empathic finish, tying up loose ends and leaving no chance of a sequel.

The film has an immense amount of adult language, which explains its R rating. Spike Lee has publicly boycotted it because of the use of the “N” word in a careless, trivialized manner. Lee’s criticisms are unfounded, as Tarantino does an excellent job of balancing historical accuracy with a sensational story. The film has stirred up a lot of talk around the subject matter of slavery and race relations, but from a pure entertainment standpoint, the film exceeds in all areas.

“Inglorious Basterds” may not have met up with all audiences’ expectations, but “Django Unchained” will win over anyone. Tarantino’s insanely brilliant mind will have people laughing, crying and cowering in fear of his wild imagination.

Rachel Arlin can be reached at [email protected]