(I think it’s worth noting that reviewing film is more difficult for me than TV)
This was an odd film for me to watch. I wasn’t really interested when it came out in 2012, nor was I really interested in watching it when I actually sat down to watch it. Generally any film that’s about slavery in America doesn’t interest me. I’ve seen a few and they tend to be similar films with similar plots and similar characters. So I was actually surprised to enjoy Django Unchained.
Django Unchained is a film about a slave, Django, who is freed (literally unchained) by a German bounty hunter, Dr. King Schultz, in the need of his help. As their relationship progresses, Django reveals to Schultz that he is married but that his wife is currently owned by a powerful plantation owner. Schultz agrees to travel to Candieland with Django, the plantation where his wife is currently enslaved and owned by Calvin Candie, in order to rescue his wife from the slaver.
Before I get into this, I think it’s prudent that I tell you that this is only the second Tarantino film I’ve seen (the first being From Dusk Until Dawn, which I didn’t enjoy much due to me watching the TV series first and finding the film lacking.) Naturally, I’ve seen multiple scenes from Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs, but I’ve not seen either of the films all the way through. I plan on it, I’ve just never gotten around to watching them.
First of all, this film was funny. That was something I was really not expecting. It’s been 4 years since I’ve seen the trailer or anything to do with the film so anything that was hinted at has gone from my memory. Of course it’s all ridiculously dark humour, such as the moment Schultz shoots Django’s original slaver in the head – which is much more amusing to watch than it sounds due to the conversation leading up to it, which I can’t remember in detail.
Another thing – lots and lots of blood. I knew that was coming because I know Tarantino likes lots of blood in his films, but I didn’t expect so much in the film. Throughout most of the film, when characters of killed, there really isn’t much blood, so it made the shootout in Candie’s house so much more surprising. It was like watching a live action episode of Bleach, with excessive amounts of blood spraying all over the place. I’m not trying to be insulting, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Lots of films I watch nowadays have so little blood that it’s refreshing to see Tarantino remind audiences that the human body has 5 litres of blood and that large calibre bullet will in fact cause that to spatter out of the body onto everything around it.
I was upset to see Schultz die near the end of the film, as he was a rare character that exists in films about slavery that doesn’t believe in enslaving human beings. However, his final act was both amusing and satisfying, so he went out with a bang (figuratively and literally). Although, the blood spatter on the bookcases behind him was magnificent.
Django’s wife, Broomhilda von Shaft, played by Kerry Washington was a rather timid character (as one would be in her situation) but I did find it jarring to see Washington in a -for lack of a better word – ‘weak’ role after seeing her play Olivia Pope in the TV show Scandal. She did a good job of it, and I’m not complaining as I know this is the job of an actor, I just felt the need to point it out.
Overall, I liked this film. I wouldn’t say I loved it, but I definitely liked it. It’s not something I would watch again, however. I feel the movie was a bit too long and could have easily been shortened whilst still keeping with the development of characters and plot.