Leave the cannoli, take the movies

Review Blog

Django Unchained

Posted by Jonathan Leithold-Patt on December 30, 2012 at 12:35 AM


Quentin Tarantino


IDEA:  A slave in the pre-Civil War south is freed by a German bounty hunter, and then goes on a mission to find his enslaved wife and exact justice on her owners.

BLURB:  Tarantino’s latest revenge fantasy barn-burner can’t decide if it wants to be a borderline parodic live action cartoon or a film that considers slavery with real weight. In the end, after a midsection of bloated scenes that feel shockingly aloof for a director so accomplished at crisp tension-building, it doesn’t fully work as either. The juicy performances and spurts of bona fide thrills deliver in isolation, but when everything is brought together, what does it really add up to? A western-cum-blaxploitation B movie where the audience is won over merely by the shallow catharsis derived from exploding bodies and floods of squirting blood. Want to give your minority hero a voice? Just stick two guns in his hands. Sure, seeing any oppressed group take it all out on their oppressors comes with a great deal of inherently deviant joy. But for Tarantino? We’ve seen it before, and with far more imagination and finesse. It’s just not enough this time.

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