Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Django Unchained

In nineteenth century Texas, an eccentric German traveller buys a slave to assist in finding a band of outlaws. Django is amazed to find a mentor in Schultz, and the men continue as partners before setting out on a mission to rescue Django's wife from slavers in Mississippi.  I can't explain why I hadn't yet seen Django Unchained - any trepidation about Tarantino films always seems to melt away in enjoyment from about the second frame, and this is no exception.

The ultimate blaxploitation western thriller buddy movie, Django Unchained might be ridiculously long, but because it's equal parts sheer joy, comedic over-dramatisation, and schlock horror, it's hard to mind much.  In his usual mocking tone, Tarantino manages to censure the violence of slavery and the mindset of pro-slavers, even as his hero commits atrocities in the name of freedom.

It's not possible to separate Tarantino from the beautifully stylised gore which immerses his films - and perhaps now no one would want to - but it's worth noting he has also become a master of cinematic beauty, frequently collaborating with the same production designers and cinematographers to turn out increasingly incredible images.  The detailed mis-en-scène, matched with spot-on dialogue and enthusiastically motivated performances from all cast, makes for touches of absolute brilliance and ensures you always know whose film you're watching.

Django Unchained is another well-realised entertainment piece from one of America's greatest auteurs, who's obviously telling us we ain't seen nothin' yet.

Though a hard-core Tarantino fan may find it seriously lacking in violence, Blazing Saddles addresses serious issues of racism and corruption with a similar style of over-the-top silliness. This is an heroic tale of a newly appointed Sheriff encouraging townsfolk who'd be happy to lynch him to stand up against a corrupt railways mogul, instead.

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