You Saw 'Django Unchained' Now Give Us Your Review

Christoph Waltz and Jamie Foxx in Django Unchained
Christoph Waltz and Jamie Foxx in Django Unchained
Photo: The Weinstein Co.

The Movie: Django Unchained (2012)

Studio: The Weinstein Co.

Director: Quentin Tarantino

Starring: Jamie Foxx as Django, Christoph Waltz as Dr. King Schultz, Leonardo DiCaprio as Calvin Candie, Kerry Washington as Broomhilda and Samuel L. Jackson as Stephen

Screenwriters: Quentin Tarantino

RottenTomatoes: 89% MetaCritic: 80/100

Snippet from My Review: (read my full review here)

Not since Michael Madsen sliced off a police officer's ear in Reservoir Dogs, and poured gasoline on the open wound, have I felt such an emotional response to violence in a Tarantino film. Torturing Nazis in Inglourious Bastereds is one thing, but watching two slaves battle to the death and the canine torture of another is tough to sit through. Tarantino's films are known for their gratuitous violence, and there is no lack of gratuitous violence in Django Unchained, but Tarantino also knows the line between gratuitous and unsettling and he walks it with unblinking confidence, making Django his most mature piece to date as well as one of the most rewarding.

Starter Questions

Here are a few questions I'm interested in outside of just your general opinion of the film and what you thought of it that may help conversation.

1.) Spike Lee has made a point to say this film is disrespectful to his ancestors. Do you agree Django Unchained plays fast and loose with such a dark and ugly portion of American history?

2.) Did you find portions of the films hard to watch due to the violence and the content of the film?

3.) Did it bother you that Django was one of the least interesting characters in the film, or do you disagree with that characterization?

Now share your thoughts on the film in the comments below and feel free to include spoilers.

  • AS

    Review on Sunday.

    • AS

      Oh, about those questions:

      1. No. Lee has a knee-jerk reaction to the name Quentin Tarantino. His opinions are baseless and irrelevant.

      2. I didn't have any trouble with the violence being "disturbing." I go into more detail on this subject in my review, but my issue with the violence was that the blood was so gratuitous that it really stood out in a negative way. It just felt like blood for the sake of blood and it did nothing for me.

      3. I've talked about this before, but QT's protagonists are never as interesting as the supporting characters. This is true (in my mind) with Kill Bill (the Bride being the LEAST interesting character), Jackie Brown (Jackson, De Niro and Forester being more interesting than Grier), Dogs & Pulp are both ensemble pieces but the case could be made that Roth is the lead in Dogs (he probably gets more screen-time) and compared to Pink, Blonde and White, he's the least interesting.

      • Yaz

        I know you're a big QT fan and were highly anticipating this one, so I'm glad you're looking at this film objectively AS...

        1) Regardless to having a knee-jerk reaction, I would argue his opinions are valid and honestly shouldn't be dismissed so quickly. I agree that he shouldn't be making them without having seen the film, but there is some weight to what he says. I found Django entertaining for the most part, but I can tell you I honestly felt uncomfortable at times watching a predominantly white-filled theatre laughing at jokes that were rooted in a film dominated by the subject of slavery. It would have been nice to have seen QT put some seriousness into it. There was none - everything was tongue-in-cheek.

        2) I agree with you here. I didn't find the violence disturbing in the least - which was a huge issue I feel. Had that at least been approached with some authenticity, it would have helped the picture become something a bit more than the sideshow it was. My biggest problem is, as always, it's glorified. It's always made to look 'cool' in his films. I felt with a film that had slavery as such a huge theme, he had a chance to actually make some of the violence have substance... Even his grindhouse-like approach to the lashing scenes felt self-indulgent and too stylistic to be taken seriously to me.

        3) Nail on the head yet again. QT's greatest accomplishment with this film was the writing/casting of Waltz's character. Honestly, he's the only thing that I found unique and interesting about the film. Everything else was just the same old QT shtick for me.

        Again, entertained? Sure... But lacking substance and depth.

        • AS

          Sorry you didn't like the film.

          1. I strongly disagree that there was no "seriousness" in the film. The first example that jumps to mind is when Waltz, recalling the man being ripped apart by dogs, is so disgusted with the racism and ugliness on display that he simply can't stand listening to the woman playing Beethoven on the harp. He jumps up and stops her because to have the music of Beethoven even associated with these people or this plantation is finally too much for him to bare. The vile nature of these people has stirred his emotions and he can't take it anymore. I thought it was a moving moment. There are other examples of this. Most notably, the long dinner scene.

          2. The violence in Django is interesting because I've never had a problem with it in any other QT film, so I'm still searching for an explanation as to why it bothered me (or rather, failed to excite me) here. And by violence, I suppose I'm specifically referring to the big shootout. Who knows? When I watch it a 2nd time it may not bother me at all.

          3. You didn't find Jackson or DiCaprio's character interesting?

          Side note: I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on the violence in A Clockwork Orange; since it's incredibly stylized as well. Do you take the same issue with it? Kubrick also uses black humor in the midst of extreme violence and brutality. Do his films bother you?

          • Yaz

            I don't know if I would go as far as to say I didn't like the film. Truth be told, upon leaving the theatre, I felt fulfilled. As I have said time and time again, I did find the film entertaining. I think it's more in retrospect, that I begin to find problems...

            1) I'll agree with you, that the dinner scene as well as Waltz's reaction to slavery and the scenes you mention, were affecting... And sure, I would say they were played straight and served a purpose to show the seriousness of the issue at hand. I suppose to me, everything else - the stylized violence, the 'cool' lines, the slapstick humour of the racists... I don't know, I guess the fact that these evil figures were made out to be cool or funny at times took away from their villainous nature - at least to me...

            2) I know what you're saying - completely. I thought the violence in Inglorious was executed perfectly. More tension. Less balls to the wall... More letting your imagination do the work at times. I suppose it was more strategic in its execution. Kill Bill, for instance, I would argue was more akin to Django... But there I thought it worked perfectly due to the incredibly stylized nature of the film. It 'fit'. I didn't find the violence in Django to be that affecting... The dogs for instance... I felt that sequence would have been more powerful with them showing us less. I didn't buy into it... The image of a man being torn apart by dogs is horrible - but with it being shown, in the manner it was, didn't affect me as greatly as it would have if it had been implied. But maybe that's just me.

            As for the end shoot out... I think it was just a bit too all over the place. That's the spaghetti western aesthetic coming into play, sure, but it just felt - anticlimactic to me... For whatever reason. It is weird... In Kill Bill I buy it completely and it works, but for Django it was just - not as impressive... Can't quite explain it.

            3) Jackson and DiCaprio... Well... Jackson is always Jackson these days... That's an issue for me. You have a bit of a physical transformation here with the make-up and all, but he's become such a pop culture icon via Chappelle show and other media, that it's hard not to be like - that's Samuel L Jackson! I thought he had some nice moments, but again, it was mostly comedy-based... The only moment I really saw something different from him was when he was talking to Django and there was that nice static CU of him.

            I think DiCaprio did a decent job, but as is with most QT films, it felt so over-the-top as a character. He didn't feel authentic to me. The dinner scene with the skull is his best moment, but the rest felt underwhelming to me.

            And that's the brilliance of Waltz here. In a QT driven cinematic world, his character comes off as an interesting, unique, but realistic human being. He's a character, but he doesn't feel the need to ham it up. He's delivering those lines with such ease and it just... works.

            Side notes: I'm not too big on Kubrick, to be honest. Clockwork is one of my favourite films though, so I can comment on it here. You're right, it's incredibly stylized... But I feel there that the entire film is stylized - and it fits more. From the opening shot the film sets its tone and rarely strays. From the music to the shot composition to the pacing. Everything fits in creating a highly stylized piece. I don't think that kind of 'world' was established in Django... You had something much more raw and realistic, at least initially, which makes those subtle touches of highly stylized moments seem slightly out of place.

            Furthermore, when it comes to Clockwork, and particularly that rape scene, the stylized nature aids in creating more sympathy. You have tension there in the juxtaposition of what's going on - a horrible act being taken so lightly. It works there. I didn't feel that in Django... I don't think I ever did, at least. Even Django's relationship with his long lost love isn't established well enough to make you really root for this guy, or to make you really feel when he comes up against obstacles... At least, again, that's how I felt.

            I think the biggest problem with Django, for me, overall, is the fact that I can't tell what it wants to be. Does it want to be taken seriously? Does it want to be seen as being 'cool'? Does it want to be funny? A bit of all of those? I just didn't feel like a tone was struck.

            Anyway, I'm all over the place. Apologies. Despite all the comments here, I did enjoy it. I suppose I was just hoping for something with a bit more substance.

            • AS

              2. The think it was really just the blood that threw me. There was barrels and barrels of it... but then there was just as much blood in Kill Bill.... I don't know, maybe it was because he was using a gun instead of a sword.... honestly I have no idea why it didn't work for me.

              3. I disagree with you on Jackson. Sure, he has familiar traits, but I thought his character was well-defined and certainly stood out from Ordell Robbie & Jules Winnfield. I thought he really nailed that Uncle Tom character. I mean, even his body movements with the cane as he was climbing down the mansion steps... I don't know, I thought he was brilliant.

              As far as Clockwork, I'd argue that Django is stylized from beginning to end. I feel you could almost take more issue with Clockwork, since the violent content is so much more disturbing and it's offset by classical music and slow-motion cinematography. It'd be a lot easier to argue that Kubrick was romanticizing violence in Clockwork (not that I agree with that, of course).

              As far as the tone Django is going for, I felt it was pretty consistent with his other films. Moments of drama, humor and action. I mean, that's usually what most people expect with a QT film and I thought Django was very much in line with that.

              • Yaz

                Your last note is why I tend to have a love love/hate relationship with QT... And which is probably why I think Kill Bill is my fav of his films. It's his most consistent of the bunch - it just works so well. Pulp Fiction will always be 'the one' for so many reasons, but from a straight up narrative style, for me, Pulp was the best.

                Looking forward to reading your review when it's up. I enjoy your point of view on things, even though I usually tend to see things differently.

              • Yaz

                Sorry... * ... from a straight up narrative style, for me, Kill Bill was the best.

              • AS

                Kill Bill is my favorite film of his as well. I think the Budd section of Bill is some of the best stuff QT's ever done in terms of pacing, music, humor and dialogue. Michael Madsen really needs to be in another Tarantino film... he's just too damn good.

      • Harmonica

        I actually find The Bride the most interesting character in the Kill Bill movies, possibly even the most interesting Tarantino protagonist ever.

        • AS

          Agree to disagree then.

  • Ritwik

    Django Unchained was my favorite movie of 2012 as well. Zero Dark Thirty and Silver Linings Playbook come 2nd and 3rd, respectively.

    3. I felt that Django's character was fleshed out enough, and had no real problems that other characters were much more appealing in a positive and negative way. This way actually similar to Jackie Brown, in which Samuel Jackson and Robert DeNiro really stole the show from Pam Grier.

  • Gautam

    1. Not in a position to comment.

    2. Yes, It was a bit cringeworthy, but Tarantino executes it in such a cartoonish way that it actually works for his films.

    3. No I don't think Django was uninteresting, obviously it was less showy than Waltz's and Leo's character, but still he generates interest due his unpredictability.

    Overall,I would say Django Unchained could very well be in the cusp of chaotic and hysterical universe but at the same time, it holds no bar in unflinchingly telling the tale of horrors and futility of slavery in a spaghetti western style but with a Tarantino stamp on it. A film that's funny but tragic, romantic but weird, violent but musical, gruesome but entertaining; all at the same time.

    One can read my full review here ..

  • rififi

    I'm writing a full review currently and will post the whole thing on my blog, jksfilmetc.blogspot on thursday, but I really enjoyed this film so much more than Tarantino's last film. The first hour, hour and a half flowed so smoothly and was classic Tarantino, genre loving entertainment. I was laughing constantly and felt as if my eyes didn't blink. And not being a huge fan of Basterds, but a serious admirer of Tarantino, it was great to see him moving along so smoothly and with his crisp dialogue and classic attention to detail. Christoph Waltz delivers Tarantino's dialogue with such gravitas and finesse, and is completely amusing and a good break from the hatred and slave violence and vitriol that appears later on in the film.
    He is brilliant and the best in the stole the film as he did in Basterds.

    My problem was that once we got to Candyland the film seemed to almost lose all its momentum. It became a talk obsessed and, with the exception of Samuel L. Jackson's brilliant, hilarious and sinister character Stephen, lost its pace a bit. I knew I was going to get a bloodbath scene towards the end and that was Tarantino at his genre bending best and beautifully lensed by Robert Richardson, but it just dragged while I waited for the revenge and rescue. DiCaprio is great and needed his scenes.

    However, the movie was uncomfortable with the mandingo fighting and the hardest scene for me was seeing Broomhilda being mistreated and abused on Candyland. That scene was extremely unsettling but my biggest question was going from laughter to severe intensity and brutality. Was it ok to laugh at cartoonish revenge western during a period that was so disgraceful and inhumane? I loved how stupid and dimwitted Don Johnson and his gang of klan members looked and acted, but it was also hard to see DiCaprio, and especially his group of workers on Candyland, mistreat and despise slaves so much. I felt the hate was honest in its showing of how white people talked and acted towards slaves and African Americans, and Tarantino didn't hold back in showing these disgusting individuals.

    On the Spike Lee comments, I can understand his frustration and distaste with Tarantino's action, spaghetti western approach to such a serious and decrepit period in American history, but I feel you should still watch the movie before giving your commentary. See it, then speak for or against the film and express your feelings then.

    I loved the fact that Django was somewhat quiet and not as loud and focused on as Schultz, Candie and Stephen. It showed his shock of having Schultz help him, as he did for Schultz, and gave focus to Django's main intent of getting back to his wife. Once he got to Candyland I saw his passion, pain, love, and the smooth hero, in a spaghetti western fashion (the one liner when he sees Broomhilda in Candie's plantation house is priceless) gave all I needed of Django and who he was. A man in love.

  • Geitner Simmons

    I'm an enthusiastic fan of Tarantino, but I found the film somewhat disappointing. The main failing for me: The film lacked top-flight set-piece dialogue scenes -- playfully creative and sharp -- that were such standouts in some of the earlier films. To me the classic example of such quality writing was the basement cafe scene in Inglorious Bastards; every segment leading up to the explosive culmination was enjoyable, witty, and stimulating. The only comparable scene, as I saw it, in Django was the dinner scene; it was pretty strong, but for me well below the standard in Bastards.

    As many people have commented, the film is too long and drags. Tarantino was too self-indulgent and didn't cut enough. In my view one of the problems that resulted was inadequate opportunity to develop some of the secondary characters more fully.

    As for the three questions Brad Brevet raised:

    1.) "Fast and loose with such a dark and ugly portion of American history?" In general my feeling is that creative works should be given great leeway with the historical record to stretch things as needed for dramatic need. I have little patience for squawking, anal-retentive whining when a work takes liberties, for the sake of drama, from the historical record. So, I was surprised at my reaction to the proto-Klan scene with its Blazing Saddles-style farcical tone. I had trouble squaring the broad humor with the awful reality of the Brownshirt-style violence the Southern vigilantes carried out. To me it was like having a slapstick scene in a Nazi concentration camp; I understood the motivation, but I couldn't make the needed emotional leap to go with it (unlike, say, a straight-out farce in the manner of Mel Brooks).

    On the other hand, it seemed to me that Tarantino helped insulate himself to a degree from Spike Lee's criticism by making the violence so brutal, time and again. Tarantino clearly was saying, "OK, yeah, I'm taking a lot of leeway with the tone here by inserting all these Leone Western references, but at the same time I'm making it starkly clear how repellent the violence of Old South slaveholding really was."

    So, question 2, about the violence: People's reactions to film violence will range widely. My particular take was that the violence at times -- especially with the ultra-loud sound design decisions -- was excessive; it didn't really advance the film. Again, a comparison to Inglorious Bastards: In that movie, the level of violence -- in the cafe scene as well as the early machine-gunning-of-the-farmhouse-floor scene -- came across as entirely logical and necessary; Tarantino showed good judgment and applied the right amount of cinematic paint. In Django, it seemed to me that he overdid it.

    Question 3, on the characterization of Django: The character worked fine for me. Jamie Foxx showed some nice acting chops and made his scenes work pretty well overall. A talented actor.

    • Brad Brevet

      Interesting take on the first question. I totally agree with your second paragraph though, and that was actually one of the things that made me love the film so much. I felt the difference in Tarantino's approach to the violence from one scene to the next showed he wanted to make it obvious he didn't feel slavery and the violence within (psychical, mental, emotional, etc.) was a joking matter.

      • Yaz

        I don't quite understand your point here Brad... For one, I didn't find any difference in his approach to the violence from one scene to another. Secondly, everything was made to be so 'cool', from the dialogue to the shoot outs to the characterization, that it was impossible to take the subject matter of slavery with any seriousness.

        I didn't even find the villains to be that villainous... I know they're SUPPOSED to be due to their positions in the film, but when an audience is laughing at half of their jokes and motions, I don't think those villains are being taken seriously at all.

        All these factors really did a disservice to the film in my opinion. I always knew it would have edge being a QT film, but the trailers made it out to be a bit more of a serious take on things... The most affected I was by violence was when Schultz bites the dust, and even then it was more a result of me being pissed that such a great character had such a shitty exit.

        • Brad Brevet

          When you look back on the film there is a massive difference in the way the violence is portrayed from one scene to the next. Even the Mandingo fight is toned down visually until the eyeball reveal. The dog scene could have been so much worse. Compare that to the shooting Django and Schultz do (the ending in particular) and it's far bloodier once revenge is being handed out. At least, that was my perception of it all.

          • Yaz

            Interesting view. I'd agree with that to an extent... But the revenge kills being exacted by Django in his first kills (2 of the 3 Brittle brothers), aren't all that extreme...

            I would say rather, there is a pretty noticeable escalation in violence as the story unfolds. From a narrative standpoint Django is receiving training and experience from Shultz and as such, it makes sense that he's so much better and capable of handing out violence by the end of the film.

            • Brad Brevet

              "The revenge kills being exacted by Django in his first kills (2 of the 3 Brittle brothers), aren't all that extreme"

              Well, I don't think Tarantino was going to turn it into a blood and guts slasher film, the escalation in the film is no different than in most films that lead up to a major set/action piece in the end. Your second paragraph supports this idea.

    • AS

      This is by far QT's most self-indulgent film (and sadly, in this case, that's not a good thing). The absence of Sally Menke was felt.

  • Monique Matthews

    Overall: funny, bloody, intensely appropriate.

    In response to questions:
    1. No.
    2. Yes, but classically QT, so flinching was part of movie-goer experience.
    3. Django embodied strong and silent type of genre, leaving Sam, Kristoff and most especially Leo freedom to express the awkward, brutal quirkiness endemic to time period, but rarely captured on film.

  • Jack

    A few things first:
    Tarantino is a better filmmaker when he arranges his structure in chapters like in Fiction and Basterds. This was linear, and whenever they finally meet DiCaprio, the film comes to a hard halt. He misses Menke and is far too in love with his own writing. Also, please even if a cameo, do not act Quentin. Especially if you need to do an accent.

    That said, I still enjoyed it more and more after I think about it, and really need to check it out again. It's QT's superhero movie.

    1. All I have to say is, why didn't Spike Lee say anything when he did Basterds? Is it because he's black and not Jewish. Foxx is the savior of the movie. Waltz, the white man, dies and it's up to django to save the day and yes it's bloody, but he uses his intelligence too.
    2. The hardest scene was with the dogs. Something about the slave's old sad face really did it for me. I appreciated the fact that it wasn't too much like this along the lines of say a Schindler's List. It was gruesome, but he got his point across, and uses genre as a means to deconstruct everything. Kind of like how Life is Beautiful uses humor. That shoot-out though just kinda felt out of place to me too much like Kill bill with 2Pac blasting over the soundtrack.
    3. I liked Foxx's character and it's virtually impossible to be in a scene with Waltz and not be overshadowed, and then to add DiCaprio to the mix! But it was a slow build-up to his moment.

  • Jesse3232

    1.) As an 18 year old male, I never really knew just how brutally bad all the slaves were treated. I think few filmmakers have the balls to make a film on America's biggest shame as I've never even heard of anything remotely similar to this in recent memory. I think this film will definitely show a lot of younger people just how bad slavery was and I think a filmmaker like Tarantino had the balls to do it. So I really do not think it's disrespectful as I think this film will definitely show a lot of people the reality of the matter. I went in the movie knowing it was about slavery but never to this extend so judging the movie without seeing it just doesn't give you a right to judge the film

    2.) Definitely the reality of the slavery wasn't easy to watch but the gore was what I was expecting especially in a Tarantino film. Kill Bill was full of gore and watching that prior to this definitely prepared me. It didn't bother me and they're were many people in my theater that weren't bothered either as they were even applauding at certain scenes

    3.) It didn''t bother me at all, in fact I really liked Django's character. Naturally it was alright for him to be timid, quiet and scared as scenes in the movie have shown what he's been through and there was definitely more that wasn't shown. I found it wouldn't have made much sense if he were to be loud and energetic like Waltz, DiCaprio or a "slave with rights" like Jackson. He clearly was thinking about the slave owner seperating him with his wife and he did have some sleep revenge one liners such as "I like the way you die boy". I liked the evolution from a scared timid slave to becoming a confident badass and Tarantino really did a good job. He took his time throughout to develop the character.

    Overall, I highly enjoyed this film and would definitely rank this as Tarantino's second best behind Inglourious Basterds. I love Tarantino as he's definitely the most original filmmaker in Hollywood in my opinion. He's unapollegetic for whatever he writes which is rare to see nowadays.

    Terrific Film!

  • Ron Oneal Fresh

    1. I can't take Spike's opinion seriously If he making judgements on something he hasn't seen.

    2. The smashing watermelon blood splatter violence was tolerable, b/c it was so cartoonish. I was able to handle it. If it was in a Coen Brother visceral violence it probably would have been too much.

    3. Waltz character being so charming, Leo delusional aristocracy masking his rage, Sam Jackson pure cartoon-baffonish character. Django — Jamie Foxx character stood out in my opinion for being so grounded. Until the ending monologue...

    As for as the film is concerned I thought it had a bunch of good moments scattered through ... The dialogue was hit in some parts and fell flat on other, but b/c of pacing it didn't hit me as being GREAT on first viewing. Perhaps with copious viewing I'd enjoy it more. Inglorious Basterds was sorta underwhelming and felt like it overstayed it's welcome on the first watch. I love that film now. Need to see Django a few more times to form a strong opinion.

    Solid film. 7.5 out of 10

    Another thing, would someone Please tell QT to cease acting from here on out. His Australian "accent" was laughably bad.

  • B-Shaw

    I did find portions of the film hard to watch due to violence. There was two types of violence in the film: serious violence and for lack of a better term, playful violence. The playful violence basically came from the scenes when Django killed everyone. The serious violence came from slaves being beaten or killed, which were really hard to watch (by far the hardest scenes to watch out of any Tarantino film). I don't think this type of violence has been seen in any other Tarantino film or not at this level anyway. There is a clear separation between the two as one knows what to enjoy and what to take serious. I think the way that these types of violence are separated and not combined or the line that separates them is not blurred really says how great of a director Tarantino really is.

    I can't say that it bothered me that Django was one of the least interesting characters of the film but I do agree with you Brad when you say this. I thought his character needed more emotion when it came to his relationship with Hilda. When she was being treated badly, all that was shown from Django was him going to his gun or becoming somewhat angry. For example, I guess what I am trying to say is that I would of liked to seen a character closer to The Bride from 'Kill Bill'. The scene where The Bride sees her daughter that she thought was dead for the first time and she just stands there saying nothing but is very emotional at that moment. She says so much without speaking single word. I would of liked of scene these type of moments and emotional aspects given to Django.

    This was the first Tarantino film that I was not blown away by any character. With that said though, there were some solid characters in the film. My favorite character was Dr. Schultz. I really liked the arc that was given to this character. This character begins to really be effected by the way slaves are treated. The scene when he is setting in that chair in Candie's library, realizing how evil Candie is and what he needs to do is hard to watch as he is flashing back to when the slave was being killed by dogs but at the same time is very powerful.

    The music was fantastic and I think the best of any of his films. The original songs were very good and were worked into the film so well. Tarantino never fails in placing a song where they work the best.
    Anyway, these are just a few thoughts and responses to the questions offered. I will have my full review posted on my blog shawgoestothemovies by the end of the week.

  • goofoognoo

    still a better lovestory than twilight.

  • Beautifulm

    The issue that Spike Lee has and many other Blacks is the humor. Which you can clearly see from the trailer. "Let's make parts of this film funny, while bumping Rick Ross music". That's how the film is perceived by some Blacks. There was nothing remotely funny about slavery, there were a lot of uncomfortable cringe worthy moments throughout the film that were meant to be funny. Like the some of the Big Daddy's House scene. A lot of Blacks also feel that showing this to younger people will make them believe that this is an accurate depiction of slavery. The director of Middle of Nowhere also has issues with this film.

  • Lewis

    Django is definitely Tarantino's most ENTERTAINING film since 1994's Pulp Fiction. It's probably also his wildest, most irreverant, sloppiest, yet fascinating film since that 90s masterpiece.

    I liked it way better than Inglorious Basterds. Yet it still can not touch the sheer excellence of his 2 debut films which I love to this day (Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction)....

  • Matt

    I don't wanna give too much of a review now, but I really enjoyed the film. Some of the sequences in it (namely, the portions with Leonardo DiCaprio) rank as some of the best sequences I've seen this year. Unfortunately, the film, in my opinion, could have been edited down maybe 10-20 minutes. I typically love long movies, but some of the sequences just felt unnecessary. Also, my favorite soundtrack of the year.

    Answering the questions...

    1.) I really don't see where Spike Lee is coming from with these comments. I really can't think of anything else to say at this point about that.

    2.) I was shocked with how hard to watch this movie was at times. I consider myself somewhat desensitized to violence in film and rarely ever find movies hard to watch, with the exception of sexual violence. This film, however, had me turning away from the screen quite a bit. Specifically, the fight scene, which is probably the most disturbing thing I've seen all year. That being said, I respect Tarantino for depicting slavery in this light. Slavery was a terrible thing, and a dark chapter in America's history and I think it deserves to be depicted on film in a way that shows us despicable some people in that time period were. So, as violent as the film was, I never felt as if it was unnecessary

    3.) I found Django interesting, even if he wasn't the most interesting character in the film. At first I felt the film was focusing too heavily on Dr. Schultz, but during the scene where Schultz tells Django the legend of Bromhilda I started to actually care about Django and became more invested in his quest to find her. I think Foxx did a great job with his performance and that Django was still an interesting character, even if the larger than life characters around him were more captivating due to their larger than life qualities. Django is, in my opinion, one of the most realistic characters Tarantino has ever written.

  • Lewis

    some of the sequences felt unnecessary? We are dealing with Quentin Tarantino, folks. The master of self-indulgence in movies.

    • goodfella676

      and who are you?

  • briggy

    Loved the movie, and I have to disagree on the third point. Django was personally my favorite character in the film. I felt that he had a full arc, which is something a lot of QT's characters lack in that they feel more like excuses for great dialogue and acting. Early in Django's partnership with Schultz it felt like Django was just along for the ride to help identify the Brittle brothers, but by the time they met Candie, I thought Django was actually beginning to surpass Schultz in terms of cleverness and his ability to play a part.

    Jamie had perfect delivery of lines such as "I like the way you die, boy" too. As a huge fan of Clint Eastwood's westerns, Django reminded me of the Eastwood type in all the right ways. One of my favorite characters in a Tarantino movie now (and I've seen all of his movies except Death Proof).

  • SmartFilm

    Loved it and called it a nasty, blood-splattered masterpiece. Won't reprint everything from my original post but my thoughts are all here:

  • Brett McNeill

    The only question of the 3 I'm interested in is whether or not Django was an interesting character. After the movie was all said and done, I can safely say he wasn't.
    Once Waltz and DiCaprio's characters are killed off and the film is left in Foxx's hands, it doesn't work. This is no fault of Foxx's, it's just that the writing, and the film, only let Django be a person with only one purpose and one goal, unlike the Bride in Kill Bill where we are shown the emotional complexities of killing Bill, and unlike Lt. Aldo Ray, who, while also one note, was charming and hilarious, two things Django wasn't.
    The other "problem" I had was the ending, It was drawn out. There was no reason do have the Australian guys detour Django (or the creepy ball-fondling scene). Django could have simply just killed everyone at the plantation and saved his wife and then THE END! It would have been cooler, less drawn out, and would have given Django minimum self screen time.
    On the whole I loved the film, but it felt so different from QT's other works. Unlike what most people have said here I think the violence had more of an edge to it then QT's other films. It was more raw and more unnerving even if it was still cartoony. It felt, as a whole, more serious. This is to be expected because of the subject matter but, while it was funny in place, seemed to dark and was at times very unpleasant. Of course, this is a bit hypocritical of a person who loved films like Kill Bill in which a mother is killed in front of her child, or Pulp Fiction in which a guy is gang raped. However, I still feel like this film is darker although I realize I'm going to have to see it again to solidify my opinion.

    Loved it but was disappointed.


  • rififi

    here is my full review of DJANGO UNCHAINED.

  • jinjuriki187

    1. no i dont think it is at all, i think spike lee doesnt kow what he is talking about and always tries to start a problem about race or something when there is nothing there. also i used to like him as a director, do the right thing was a great film, but i hate him as a person.
    2. i personally dont but i can see many people might. but it helps the story and helps portray what went on back in those dark days. i hate racists and racism but thats not what this film is. and i think it does a better job of showing all the wrong that happened than most films do. and the shootouts were awesome.
    3. no it didn't, i think he was a very interesting character, not as much as leo, waltz or sam of course, but that didnt bother me, in a lot of films the supporting character tends to be the best one, similarly in many of tarantino's films.
    this movie was amazing beyond belief. truly epic and id say its of equal quality to pulp fiction. 5/5 stars. amazing!!!!

  • shawnmeister

    I agree that Django was one of the least interesting characters in the film, but only for the first two thirds. And I also was fine with it. I think Tarantino was intentionally making Django a non factor in the scene stealing department to make way for Waltz and DiCaprio. Then the last third of the film belonged to Django. The growth of Django and his progression from quiet slave to badass bounty hunter made for a much more interesting character, even though Tarantino had to make him uninteresting to begin with.

  • Abe M

    I want to start by saying I have never been disappointed by a Tarantino film before, and more often than not, have had my expectations thrown out the window and bettered in every way. When I first saw a trailer for Django, as much as I tried to avoid it, I wasn't excited, in fact, I was scared. It just didn't get my juices flowing. But I had faith and the extended trailer in front of The Man With the Iron Fists changed all that and had me all giddy. As I am writing this an hour has passed since the film ended and I am not the happy camper I thought I'd be. But before I get to that...
    1. For the most part, No. I felt QT exercised a careful hand in dealing with this period, and impressively so. The slave owners were callous and cruel, and their behavior was just that. I did feel uncomfortable with the pre-raid scene because, as funny as it was, it felt out of place and I did not want to feel any sympathy for those characters, and I felt the humor was taking away from that.

    2. I did find some of the violent scenes hard to watch, and they were almost always the more restrained ones dealing with the slaves. The fight, the dogs, even the whipping. Those scenes left more to the imagination and emphasized the sound, making the experience quite cringe-worthy for me. On the flip side, when Django is gunning people down throughout the film, I felt a degree of release when they exploded with a half-gallon (or more) or red syrup.

    3. Django himself didn't bother me although I do agree he was the least interesting character in the film, perhaps more-so than typical of QT lead.

    Now, as for the film as a whole. I can't say precisely why but the film just didn't click for me as well as I had hoped. I remember sitting down in the theater before Basterds started and as soon the film began I had a cheek to cheek grin on my face until the very end. I was in movie ecstasy. But Django did not operate on the level. I thought the writing was fantastic, the dialogue was great and the characters were delightful (even the awful Candie and Steve were admirably created). But the direction felt lacking, the film felt a little roughly cut. The pacing didn't feel smooth to the point where I actually was hoping for the film to end. That thought bothers the shit out of me. I had arrived early for the film and snagged the best seat in the house (according to my taste) and yet I WANTED the film to end. And save for a few choices, I hated the musical choices. I see the appeal of the Rick Ross track but when it popped up I almost said aloud "Are you fucking serious?". I love QT for his musical choices but Django's soundtrack felt like it was trying too much to be like a Tarantino track, not like a genuine one.

    The writing was pure, unabashed QT, but everything else felt kind of second-rate. When I heard/read about QT speak about retiring, I was sad and didn't want to see that day. But after Django, I began to wonder that maybe he was onto something, and is already beginning to suffer. As much as I'd hate to never see a new Tarantino again, the thought of seeing more and not being as floored as before is even more upsetting. I don't know, maybe its just me, maybe film classes have been hurting my love of film, or maybe I'm out-growing QT and only love his older films because of sentimental value. But as much as I loved Django, and I did enjoy it immensely, I wanted to love it more, but simply couldn't.

    • Patrick

      Sadly, everything you just said sums up how I feel. But, I think I felt this way when I first saw Basterds...his films somehow take a couple of viewings for me simply because they always throw so much at you.

      Some people toss around the phrase "Morally queasy" and I never really understood it until seeing can't help but feel a tad uneasy about the violence. Tarantino handles the slave violence well, I think, but when it's juxtaposed against such ridiculous cartoon violence, it's hard to know how I feel. Time will only tell.

      But yes, I was entertained. I don't think anybody has argued about that, but I guess it just felt like TOO much.

  • Connor420

    I would say it was Quentin Tarantino's 2nd best film(behind Pulp Fiction) and the best movie of the year. It was funny, exciting, and full of great performances. I hope DiCaprio or Waltz win Best Supporting Actor. I would Samuel L. Jackson was the best. He was funny, a great villain, and everything you'd expect from a Sam Jackson character in a Quentin Tarantino movie. Saying motherfucker, scaring people, etc.. I also enjoyed DiCaprio's change from trying to welcome the two to wanting to kill them. Waltz was great in it too, but not quite surpassing Hans Landa. Don Johnson was funny too. Foxx wasn't great, but enjoyable. Washington didn't talk much. Now I hope this isn't Tarantino's last film. He is my favorite director. And he has come back with a new masterpiece Is it Tarantino's most violent film? Probably. Blood splatter, people getting shot in the groin(also in Pulp Fiction), the fight scene, the dog scene, etc. we're pretty fuckin violent. I wouldn't mind seeing this again at all.
    Score: 10/10

  • G-Man

    1.) Spike Lee has made a point to say this film is disrespectful to his ancestors. Do you agree Django Unchained plays fast and loose with such a dark and ugly portion of American history?

    Not in the slightest.

    2.) Did you find portions of the films hard to watch due to the violence and the content of the film?

    Nah. After all the horror movies I've seen (all Saws, The Collection, Human Centipede), I'm pretty much good for anything. I seem to recall Reservoir Dogs being more violent, no?

    3.) Did it bother you that Django was one of the least interesting characters in the film, or do you disagree with that characterization?

    Nope. I was actually kind of intrigued by him and liked him even more as he played a bigger role towards the end.

    Overall Comments (SPOILERS to follow):

    I loved every second of this movie. The story kept me intrigued for the entire 2 hours and 45 minutes, with some scenes that I consider the best of the year. The one that stands out most to me is the dinner table scene after Samuel L Jackson warns Di Caprio's character of the plan, all the way through the shootout in the house. By the way, how FUCKING badass was that ending? I can't stop thinking about how awesome this movie is. All of the actors were on their A-game and I completely dug and bought into Christoph Waltz's character. Just a fun, captivating movie with characters I found myself attached to. Many of my favorite films are 2.5+ hours long and keep me engrossed throughout - certainly the case for Django Unchained. This makes my #2 film of the year at this point. 9.5 / 10. In time I may give it a 10 depending on how I judge its re-watchability. Well done, Quentin...well done.

  • adu

    There must be something in Tarantino’s diet that makes him consistently produce these twisted and ingenious movies. Django tells a blood-soaked tale involving slavery, ruthless characters & encounters, and humor…the usual Tarantino recipe. The man is booked for the hall of fame but that his material continues to impress & stand-out from the crowd is remarkable.

    If there was one thing I have wanted to see on film it is Leo in a Tarantino movie (now I want Tom Cruise in one, being spoiled often leads to this). Leo passed on the villainous role in Inglorious Basterds, but this time he has embraced it and is having a blast with it. He plays a diabolical man with an equally conniving right hand man played by Samuel L. Jackson. The man Tarantino discovered, Christoph Waltz (who got Leo’s role in Basterds in the end) is on the ‘good’ side this time, but is equally electric. It’s funny that the title character actually takes a back-seat as the bigger supporting names take over the film. But Jamie Fox does well with what he is given, and Will Smith must be kicking himself for passing up on a Tarantino movie.

    This is Tarantino’s longest movie, but for those of you who are familiar with his skill-set, that length should not be a concern. The long talking sequences, inspired music choice & timing, bursts of violence, and great characters make it a great package and one the best movies of the year. So long as Tarantino (his imagination at least) is in the movie business, there is always something to look forward to.

  • Chris

    Loved it!! Inglorious Basterds is still his best IMO since I see it as so iconic and just a plain masterpiece. Django was entertaining and had some real great great scenes, but never met the heights that Basterds did. The script is just not simply as tight as Basterds. Jamie Foxx was great but the role didn't ask for much which made the lead a little boring. Waltz and DiCaprio were simply amazing. I wish Waltz was still going for Best Actor because I think he's given the best performance all year. Even better than DDL. DiCaprio should have the Best Supporting Actor sealed up but it doesn't appear that's gonna happen because of Tommy Lee Jones good but not great performance. I can't wait to see this again. I can't give it an A+ like Brad but I give it just one step lower. A.

  • Zenster

    That Samuel L. could deliver his lines while maintaining an unblinking visage of shock, indignation and surprise throughout the scenes became a sudden point of riveting fascination to me while watching this film. Man did that bad negro have it coming and Samuel L. brought it home for me. I also loved the Blazing saddles send-up before the 'Intolerence' upending massacre of the good old boys gone horribly mammy-fied and justly whooped.

  • Ryguy815

    1. Yes and no. I can imagine some people finding the first act disrespectful because of how comedic it was but it didn't really bother me.
    2. I found some parts hard to watch due to their brutal nature, yes. The slave fight is the part I'm specifically thinking of.
    3. I thought Django was one of the most interesting characters in the film so I would disagree with that.

    Overall, I loved Django Unchained. One of my favourites of 2012.