django_unchained_theatrical_posterIt’s a month since I saw Django Unchained and I’m not sure why I haven’t posted about it before now. I suppose it’s partly a general blog post slump (I have quite a stack of posts to write and publish if its possible to have a stack of something virtual) but I think it’s also that I didn’t want to be overly influenced by everyone who was posting about it at the time.

So, fair to say that I have always been slightly ambivalent about Tarantino. My first experience was a really dodgy videotape of Reservoir Dogs, and since then I think I’ve seen all of his major films except Jackie Brown. I can say that I’ve enjoyed all of them to some extent but always felt that there was possibly style over substance and the only one that really stuck with me was Pulp Fiction, though certain images from the Kill Bill films have lingered (and I wish Uma wasn’t so quick with the five point thingy whatsit as I’d like to know how to do that)

But to Django. Heard lots about this before going to see it, particularly about the violence and the language used,  and tried not to pay too much attention as I did really want to consider it on its own merits. Thoughts were:

  • language didn’t bother me as much as I thought it might, even the extensive use of the N-word, I was kind of desensitised to it by the end, which may have been the point and is possibly disturbing and but its a word I have never used and hearing it thrown about so liberally hasn’t changed that;
  • I am in love with Christoph Waltz (very pleased to see him get his second Oscar); his character is fascinating, particularly enjoyed him telling the tale of Brunhilde
  • why has hardly anyone talked about Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance (or have I just been reading the wrong stuff), I thought he was completely odious and enjoyed watching him in a villanous role
  • Samuel L Jackson was unrecognisable
  • female roles were a bit limited
  • it was very funny in places, but uncomfortably so at times

My two main problems (if I can call them that) were the violence and the structure. In terms of the violence, I thought (and I don’t think I’m by any means the first to say this) that there was an unevenness of tone – violence against the slaves was brutal, mostly off-screen and gruesome , but the violence against the likes of Leo was almost cartoonish, certainly over the top and seemed odd to me. But my biggest issue is that the film has two climaxes; you think it’s over and then it cranks up again, and I found it difficult to engage with the real ending for that reason. I don’t have any problems with the length of the film just how its put together. But Tarantino’s cameo was entirely unnecessary and a bit self-indulgent.

So, verdict is that I’m glad I saw it, there’s a lot to admire but not sure I would necessarily seek it out again.