Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Django Unchained

**Now nominated for the 2012 Best Picture Academy Award.**


"One of the rawest and most unhinged movies of 2012. Tarantino nailed it and gathered up a group of the best performances ever!"

Well 2012 is over and we are only a few days into 2013.  However, we are dealing with the slough of movies that come out before the end of the physical year to make the deadline for awards season.  Yes, you know all the serious, dramatic fare that comes in the fall after all the explosions from the summer have wined down.  It's those movies that make the people on the award panels salivate profusely. In the middle of all the nominations for Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty, and Argo, there's Django Unchained.

"The new film by Quentin Tarantino" is raw American movie making at it's most primal, and at it's finest.  Django Unchained is set three years before the beginning of the American Civil War and almost immediately we are introduced to Dr. King Shultz (Christopher Waltz, Inglorious Bastards), a very colorful character throughout the movie who comes upon our hero Django (Jamie Foxx), a slave chained together with some other slaves on their way to a plantation.  Dr. Shulz, who is a bounty hunter, buys Django his freedom and they become partners in the bounty hunting business.  However, Django has another agenda.  He is on a journey to find his wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), who was  taken from him and sold as a house slave to evil plantation owner Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio).

So, the paragraph above is the gist of the story and if you haven not seen it yet, that is all you need to know.  I am now going to get to the performances and the movie itself.  Django Unchained is violent and in your face bloody.  I mean, it is splattering everywhere, but lets face it, after you see it, you will realize and know that it needed to be that way.  It was a very violent time in American History.  As of the writing of this review, the Academy Award nominations come out tomorrow.  No doubt, there should be nominations for Jamie Foxx, Christopher Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson, and Kerry Washington.  However, I have come back down to Earth and know that could not happen because I also think a few people here and there in Lincoln need to be nominated and win too.   All these people were so good, so intense, so unbelievable.  Jamie Foxx as the hero and lead character has all the emotional cues down, he needed to be hardcore and angry as hell of course but I saw, in the scenes where the anger had to turn, his face would make this gradual change, but you could see the angst when he just wanted to cry. He almost looked like a sad little boy and I thought that was better than spilling the tears.

Oh, what to say about Leo's Calvin Candie?  This movie was released Christmas Day and this character has already been billed as the, I guess you could say, most villainous villain of 2012, even beating The Dark Knight Rises Bane.  This man is nasty but if you go into the theater without knowing a thing, at first you are going to think, wow this is a real fun guy.  Lets face it people, Leonardo DiCaprio is one the greats of our time, I mean, the man is an artist and Calvin Candie is  sprayed all over the canvas like muck from a barn floor.  I had only seen Christopher Waltz in Inglorious Bastards and he was of course, phenomenal in that but I am not familiar with any of his other work.  Comparing his phenomenal Bastards performance to this one, this one is a juggernaut.  You literally have to see the character of Dr. Shulz to believe it. We all know Samuel L. Jackson and his very wide range of work, but this role just expands his range to the size of the Grand Canyon.  His role as Stephen, the head of the house slaves for Calvin Candie, is part grouchy old man, part wiseass, part sociopath.  Honestly, I don't know if he would have been my first choice to play the character but he turned out to be utter perfection.

Django Unchained is awe-inspiring original story telling by one of the great screenwriters and directors of our time.  Quentin Tarantino weaves a story so compelling and raw, yet comedic, it is very reminiscent of his other great movies like Pulp Fiction.  It is also reminiscent of the westerns from the past with Tarantino's awesome modern twists of graphic violence mixed in.  I also loved the music in the movie.  I definitely plan on buying the soundtrack.  This movie is so raw and unhinged, it could also be described as, well, unchained.

Thank you and see you at the next blog.

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