Django Unchained sees Quentin Tarantino return in fine form, even with a few hiccups along the way.
While Inglorious Basterds wasn't my favorite Tarantino film, hell, parts of that film are some of the driest I've had to experience in modern cinema, it was a decent Tarantino film. Django returns everything I've loved and enjoyed out of Tarantino, smart and witty characters, over-the-top violence, and an absurdly stylized music choice, that's for sure. Who else could use a Rick Ross song in his pre-civil war era film and get away with it? The first two thirds of the film, which the only gripe I have with it is it is about twenty minutes too long, is fantastic. Tarantino has written a fantastic tale of a former slave out to save his wife from the shackles of slavery as well. Now, all of this is sort of dropped into Django's lap thanks to Dr. King Schultz (the always magnificent Christoph Waltz). After purchasing/saving him from a group of slavers, he enlists the help of Django with his bounty hunting business. In exchange, he offers to help him find his wife, and free him. What follows is an epic that only Tarantino could deliver, with literally every scene being an outrageously fascinating spectacle of modern cinema.
Leonardo DiCaprio gives a fine, if over-the-top performance as Calvin Candie, a plantation owner and slave owner. And then we have Samuel L. Jackson, giving an even more insane performance as the old Stephen, sort of Calvin's head of house slave. I don't want to give much more of the film away because it truly does unravel in an excellent manner, one that shouldn't be spoiled. But I do have to note that Django Unchained features two of the best shoot-out sequences I've not only seen this year, but probably in the last five or six. The violence isn't as much as most are use to in a Tarantino film, but when it does hit, it is brutal, over-the-top, and almost cartoonish at times. It's the kind of use of absurd blood that doesn't bother the squeamish, at least I would think not.
Now while I enjoyed literally every minute of this film, I can't help but point out that there are a few scenes that definitely could have used some trimming. This is especially noticeable in the third act of the film. While it does have the issue of being just a little long, none of it feels extremely out of place or had me want to look at my phone for the time (as did Inglorious Basterds). While it won't capture the greatness of some of his early films, namely Pulp Fiction, Django Unchained is a great example of current day Tarantino. The man definitely has his own brand and style, and here, it works to all of his advantages. One of the best of 2012.