Django Unchained: Movie Review

Review: Django Unchained, the new film by Quentin Tarantino, from the excitingly violent world of Tarantinoland is told around the subject of racism in America. It seems that as Tarantino is getting older, he is becoming increasingly interested in the world history rather than cinema history. His previous Inglourious Basterds was fictionally set in the World War II period. Clearly when a filmmaker who writes his own material and directs it, is bound to infuse his individuality to a greater extent in his work and keeping up to this tradition, Tarantino has again made a film with all the essential elements being present in the movie for which he is famously known for. The story of a black slave and a white bounty hunter on a mission with profit and revenge as subordinate and principal motives is the central plot of this recent release. Enwrapped in a genre style of ‘Western’, it is an enjoyable film relying more on entertainment value rather than giving a message in the film. With top-notch performances from the actors (Christoph Waltz, Leonardo Di Caprio & Samuel L Jackson), the writing in the film embodies a ‘cool ‘quotient in a spaghetti western voice, and is the highlight of the film.

But is that all? Considering the fact that we live in an age where violence has seeped into the conscious of human lives underlining the kind of world it comes from, it is an argument of much importance to evaluate violence and its effects in broader human context. Altogether equally urgent when shown in movies as it comprises a major spectrum of mass media. Agreed, most of the violence which we see in the film is a work of fiction including Django Unchained, but still the fact can’t be overlooked that fiction is often rooted in reality (as this film is rooted in facts) hence communicating to the audience its own multiple ways. By no means, it is suggested that violence in this film is assuringly on the other side of the fence, but only aims to imply that all artists working in any medium have to be quite responsible and sincere in expressing and dealing with it in his/her work. Coming back to Django Unchained, again Quentin Tarantino employs his lurid style for the treatment of a virtuous subject matter which certainly makes this film a unique experience. Combined effect of eloquent writing and graphic violence is a major highlight this film offers and remarkably the character of Stephen (played by Samuel L Jackson) is a praiseworthy Tarantino creation. It accounts for his own personal commentary on slavery and class distinction. Deriving much from the vocabulary and energy of B-movies, this is master filmmaking where style is as important as content to its creator. One gets the feeling sometimes that whether a certain style by an ‘Auteur’ needs to be minimalized for enhancing an important issue (Steven Spielberg’s treatment of ‘Lincoln’) or style remains of prime importance when dealing with such subjects (Martin Scorsese’s treatment of Goodfellas).

The answer is never going to be simple but one thing is sure that Django Unchained is an enjoyable experience and could have attained the level of a classic if only it would have managed to express slavery in America not only in the terms of entertainment but also with an effect warm enough for driving the audience to look back with moral integrity and explore one of the landmark issues of a country.

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4 Comments

  1. Pavan Jois

    March 23, 2013 at 12:34 am

    Shadab Hasnain,

    Three and a half stars for Django Unchained? You’ve got to be kidding me! It’s one of the most entertaining movies released last year and a must watch for any action fan or a Quentin Tarantino fan. Brilliantly made, superb cast, action packed and delightfully vengeful.

    Easily 4 stars.

  2. Devendra

    March 23, 2013 at 10:51 am

    Aptly put by the reviewer. I too enjoyed the film thoroughly, but it has no distinct storytelling technique(see: Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction). May be I am expecting too much.

  3. DR

    March 23, 2013 at 11:00 am

    I disagree with the critic’s comments about this falling short of being a masterpiece. Although the Director has made a very entertaining film, the sensitive movie goer will never escape the horror of the evil perpetrated by slavery in early America. For most of the new “Avatar” and “MI” bred generation, the fact that a ghastly thing like slavery even existedd is difficult to fathom. In fact the very strength of the movie is that it has brought out such a serious issue with so much humour and slick. Caprio’s villain is a character I will remember for ever! This movie is a classic.
    Another movie with the same underlying issue- Lincoln would probably be rated as a “classic” by the critic .I saw that one too, but am I to be termed frivolous for wanting to be entertained and educated at the same time?

  4. Serendipitously

    April 30, 2013 at 10:53 pm

    Like Vidya Balan said- “Entertainment, entertainment, entertainment.” If thtz in place everything else follows!

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