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Rated 3 stars
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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Tarantino Strikes Again
by Betty Jo Tucker

Django Unchained includes scenes reminiscent of Blazing Saddles, spaghetti Westerns and blacksploitation films -- all tied together by Quentin Tarantino’s brilliant insensitivity. This outrageous filmmaker pulls out all the stops here in a revenge-based love story designed to showcase the horrors of slavery in the South right before the Civil War.  Although squeamish viewers (like me) may have trouble watching the entire film, it’s a must-see for Tarantino fans. Plus, the first half of the movie boasts some of the most entertaining filmmaking of 2012 -- or perhaps of any year.   

Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz get our attention right away as a slave and a bounty hunter, respectively. It’s a real treat to watch the relationship developing between the characters played by these two fine actors. Foxx has the most difficult role --  one requiring considerable change as the tale is told.  But it’s hard to take your eyes off Waltz, mostly because of his impeccable articulation and the wonderful dialogue his character is given.          


Django, Django,

a slave unchained --

but bounty man

he soon became.  


To find his wife

he swears -- then kills

white villains all

with vengeful skills.


There’s blood galore,

guns a-blasting.

Foxx as Django

seems great casting.


But Waltz appears

as Django’s friend

and steals the show

from start to end.  


I hate to say anything negative about Django Unchained. (Tarantino is my husband’s favorite filmmaker, and word might get back to him.) My admiration for Tarantino’s Kill Bill movies and for his Inglourious Basterds is well-known in our household. But unlike those two excellent projects, this latest one gives short-shrift to female characters. Yes, Kerry Washington -- as Django’s wife -- does a great job displaying the suffering she’s going through, but she’s not given enough screen time.

Also, I wish Tarantino resisted the temptation to put himself in this film. Even though it’s a brief appearance, seeing him took me out of the story -- and I hate it when that happens. And then there’s the extreme violence. Some scenes are too horrifying to describe. Still, Tarantino claims he wanted to show viewers how evil and immoral slavery is, so he felt such scenes needed to be in this film.  And -- surprise -- in the midst of all the violence, my favorite segment emerges -- an amusing scene showing a lynch mob arguing about their masks.  Outrageous filmmaking, for sure!    

(Released by The Weinstein Company and rated “R” by the MPAA.)

For more information about Django Unchained, please go to the Internet Movie Data Base or Rotten Tomatoes website.

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